New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said the government was committed to restoring Kashmir's status as "heaven on earth", stressing that the progress of Jammu and Kashmir lies in drawing the state's young "into the mainstream." But, the PM also said, there will no let-up in the crackdown on terror.
- Government committed to restoring Kashmir as "heaven on earth": PM
- PM Modi said his government was determined to develop the state
- But there was no question of being soft on terrorists, he said
"We have to work for the progress of Jammu and Kashmir... problems cannot be sorted through abuses or bullets... Kashmir's problems can only be solved by embracing Kashmiris," the Prime Minister said in his Independence Day address to the nation from Delhi's Red Fort today.
The Prime Minister said his government was determined to "develop the state," ravaged by terror and violence, and laid down the roadmap. The goals, he said, were to "educate the youth, give them jobs, include them in the mainstream, increase business and jobs, give them reasons to rejoice."
He appealed to young men drawn to violence in the state to join the mainstream, saying, "You have every right to make your voices heard in Indian democracy".
But the Prime Minister also said that while the nation stands shoulder-to-shoulder with people in Jammu and Kashmir, "who have suffered a lot due to terrorism", there is "no question of being soft on terrorism or terrorists".
Kashmir was gripped by unrest and violence that began after Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani killed in June last year. Protesters have attacked security forces with stones, separatists have called for shutdowns and schools have been closed for more than half-a-year.
Srinagar witnessed a terror attack on Independence Day last year. Five terrorists had struck at Nowhatta, the downtown area of the city, close to Bakshee Stadium, where Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti was to participate in the Independence Day celebrations. A CRPF officer, Commandant Pramod Kumar, was killed in the five-hour gun-battle to flush them out. Nine securitymen were injured.
After a spate of terror attacks, most of them in south Kashmir, the army renewed its combing operations through villages and the government started an investigation into terror funding, with several prominent separatists interrogated and arrested over the last few weeks.