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Kashmir problem can’t be resolved through bullets or abuses, says PM Modi

LiveMint logoLiveMint 15-08-2017 Shaswati Das

New Delhi: Addressing the nation on India’s 71st Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid special emphasis on India’s ongoing crisis in Kashmir.

PM Modi said the Kashmir issue couldn’t be resolved through bullets and violence, but by embracing the Kashmiris and working for their betterment.

“Na gaali se samasya sulajhne wali hai, na goli se, samasya suljhegi har Kashmiri ko gale lagane se (Kashmir problem cannot be resolved by either bullets or by abuses. It can be resolved by embracing all Kashmiris),” Modi said in his fourth Independence Day speech, PTI reported.

“We have to work for the progress of Jammu and Kashmir and Kashmir’s problem can only be solved by embracing Kashmiris. We all stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our brothers and sisters in Jammu and Kashmir. They have suffered a lot due to terrorism,” PM Modi said in his speech at the Red Fort.

The Union home ministry had in June stated that the ongoing UDAAN scheme was aimed at providing jobs to the skilled youth in the state. With more than 13,000 youth having gained from the Central Skill Development initiative, the ministry of home affairs had also stated that it aims at providing employment to more than 80,000 youth in the Kashmir valley across different sectors such as aviation, information technology and apparels.

Mentioning that 63 major development projects were currently underway in the state under the Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP 2015) with a budget of Rs80,068 crore, the Prime Minister added that the Centre was determined to pull Kashmir out of the twilight zone and amalgamate it with the mainstream.

“We are determined to develop the state, educate the youth, give them jobs, include them in the mainstream, increase business and jobs and give them reasons to rejoice,” Modi said.

The Centre as well as security forces have been facing stiff resistance from the youth in the Valley, following Hizbul Mujahideen leader Burhan Wani’s killing in July last year. With Kashmir turning into a tinderbox following Wani’s death, security forces—backed by the Centre—have toughened their stand.

While the home ministry stated that 92 terrorists had been killed till July this year alone, security forces have come down heavily on stone pelting incidents.

According to the home ministry’s data, 2016 witnessed 2,690 episodes of stone pelting in Kashmir. In May this year, Major Leetul Gogoi was rewarded by the Indian Army after he was captured on camera using a Kashmiri man as a “human shield” against stone pelters—an action which only widened the chasm between the people of the valley and the Centre.

Also Read: Independence Day speech 2017: Narendra Modi invokes ‘new India’ by 2022

The home ministry has been stressing on the fact that the youth were being egged on by separatist leaders to hurl stones at the security forces.

The PM, while discussing the future growth trajectory of the disaffected youth in the valley, said that the agenda of the separatists was counter-productive.

He also sounded a warning not just for terrorists but also for those abetting terrorism.

Also Read: Independence Day speech: A year on, what happened to India’s ‘Baloch card’?

“Kashmir problem will neither be solved by bullets nor by abusing each other. There is no question of being soft on terrorists. In the fight against terrorism, India is not alone today and is being actively supported by several countries across the world,” he added.

He also lauded the armed forces for effectively combatting infiltration from across the Pakistan border as well as for stepping up to any challenges that had been thrown at them.

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