Srinagar: What prime minister Narendra Modi said about Kashmir on Tuesday, 32 days after the entire valley rose in revolt against the Indian rule, would probably not please even chief minister Mehbooba Mufti who on Monday called for “bold and tangible” steps to reach out to the people of Kashmir.
Speaking for the first time on the situation in Kashmir, during a rally in Madhya Pradesh, Modi appealed for peace in the state but, sticking to the hardline tradition of his party, suggested the tens of hundreds of protests over the past month were the handiwork of a “few misguided people who were hurting the valley’s great tradition”.
At least 57 unarmed civilian protesters have been shot dead with either pellets or bullets or beaten to death. More than 5000 people have been injured and about 1300 others arrested since July 8 when the uprising broke out after the killing of Hizb commander Burhan Wani.
Govt welcomes, resistance criticises
- It is ridiculous on part of Mr. Modi to look into Kashmir issue through his fake rhetoric of development. The inner beast of 2002 Gujarat is still thriving in him despite becoming Prime Minister of India.
—Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani
- Regarding what Kashmiris want , the writing on the wall is clear and can be read easily by those who want to read it
Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq
- Modi’s statement on Kashmir is illogical and an old ploy of Indian leaders to deny reality. This denial would yield nothing.
—JKLF chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik
- We have welcomed PM Modi’s approach over reaching out to the perturbed people of Kashmir. It is worth hailing. The dialogue must not be thrown into the cold storage as was done after the 2008 and 2010 agitations
—Government spokesman Naeem Akhtar
- Modi’s statement is hopeless. The PM must prove the difference between Chander Shekhar Azad and Hizb commander Burhan Wani.
—Awami Ittihad party chief and MLA Sheikh Rashid
The PM said both the government of India and state governments are trying to “find solutions through development.”
“Kashmir wants peace. The citizen of Kashmir wants to earn more money through tourism,” Modi said.
Apparently answering to ‘azadi’, the most uttered word on streets during the past one month, Modi said, “The freedom that every Indian has also belongs to every Kashmiri. We want the same bright future for every youth in Kashmir.”
Modi also attempted to placate the rage in Kashmir by invoking the slogan of ‘insaniyat’ (humanity) that was first uttered by former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2003.
“We are the people who walk the path that Atal Bihari Vajpayee took when it comes to Kashmir,” Modi said.
“Boys who should be holding laptops, bats, balls in their hands & dreams in their hearts are ones carrying stones,” he added.
Once again selling ‘development’ as a solution to Kashmir issue, Modi said, “Be it the J&K government under Mehbooba Mufti or the central government, we are finding solutions to all problems through development.
Whatever Kashmiris want for betterment of their livelihood, the Centre will help. We want development for J&K.”
“Today, one feels pained to see that innocent youths have been handed stones. Politics of some people is clicking but what will happen to these gullible and simple youths. Humanity and Kashmiriyat will not be allowed to be hit. The path of democracy and dialogue is there,” he said.
Mehbooa Mufti, who was in New Delhi for a meeting with home minister Rajnath Singh on Monday had said the government of India should take “bold and tangible” steps to reach out to the people of Kashmir, and try to reduce the “cynicism and alienation” among the youth.