'Deeply pained over Kashmir unrest,' says Modi as he invokes former PM Vajpayee yet again

Modi also asked external affairs ministry to try to contact Pakistan-controlled Kashmir citizens and share details of area's pitiable condition with international community. Photograph:( Reuters )

Agencies Srinagar Aug 12, 2016, 02.44 PM (IST)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said like every Indian, he was also deeply pained by recent incidents in northermost Jammu and Kashmir state and assured the opposition parties of his government's commitment to stable and peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue as per basic principles of the constitution.

"Like every Indian, I'm also deeply pained by recent incidents and we are committed to a stable and peaceful resolution to the Kashmir issue as per basic principles of the constitution. We are committed to the welfare of the people of the state. To find a solution, we will follow the path shown by former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee," said the Prime Minister while delivering the concluding remarks at the all-party meeting to review and seek suggestions on the Kashmir situation at the parliament House here.

Invoking former Vajpayee, he referred to the former prime minister's offer to hold dialogue under the framework of 'insaniyat (humanity), jamhuriyat (democracy) and Kashmiriyat'. It would be pertinent to mention Modi has more than once referred to Vajpayee's approach during the last two years while talking about the situation prevailing in the Valley.  

"When we talk about Jammu and Kashmir, then we should talk about four regions; Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK)," he said.

"Jammu and Kashmir, which is often referred to as the crown of India, is an age old symbol of embodying the equality of all religions where Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Muslims have co-existed for centuries. The state is not only the matter of our unity, but is also a definition of our nationalism," he added.

"We cannot reject the fact that security forces have braved all sorts of injuries. They were subjected to organised attacks despite that they maintained restraint. Data speaks that security forces are injured in large numbers," he said.

The Prime Minister said the percentage of elements, who indulge in spreading propaganda, disturbing peace and inciting children have gone down, despite a vicious campaign by some.

"This is why despite warnings from some separatist elements, the people of Jammu and Kashmir showed their faith in democratic principles during the polls," he added.

Expressing his gratitude to all political parties and leaders for expressing their feelings in one voice, Prime Minister Modi said, "it's a matter of happiness that all our friends have expressed their feelings in one voice. I'm grateful to all political parties for raising concerns over the prevailing situation in Jammu and Kashmir".  

Opposition calls for defusing present situation 

Former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh, who attended today's meeting, said the most important thing with regard to Jammu and Kashmir is to defuse the present tense and tragic situation.

Leader of Opposition in the upper house of the Indian parliament (Rajya Sabha) Ghulam Nabi Azad, while addressing the media after the meeting quoted the former prime minister as saying that the former United Party Alliance (UPA) regime in the last ten years in office made efforts to find practical solution to these problems. 

Azad said, "We have lot of problems with the Centre, but right now we only want that the situation in J&K to normalise. Manmohan Singh ji said at the meet that most imp thing with regard to J&K is to defuse the present tense and tragic situation."

"Manmohan Singhji also said in last 10 years when we were in office, we made efforts to find practical solution to these problem, but we recognise that we didn`t fully succeed and it is the government of India's duty to come up with a roadmap for defusing the present situation." 

Azad further said Dr Singh assured the government that any positive step in this endeavour would have the Congress' full cooperation.

Home minister Rajnath Singh, finance minister Arun Jaitley, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI's D. Raja and Janata Dal (United) chief Sharad Yadav were among others who attended the meeting.

'Contact citizens of Pakistan-cantrolled Kashmir,' insists Modi 

While Jaitley said security forces have been advised to maintain restraint, Rajnath drew attention to Pakistan-controlled Kashmir. 

"PM said that the time has come for Pakistan to answer the world, on atrocities against people in Balochistan & Pakistan-cantrolled Kashmir,"  ANI quoted him as saying.  Sharing the main points of his government's Kashmir policy, Modi also asked the external affairs ministry to try to contact citizens of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, living in different parts of the world, to get details of the area's pitiable condition and share them with the international community.

The government's efforts include reaching out to the civil society and speeding up measures to integrate Kashmir's youth with the state's economic activities.

Seeking support of all political parties, the Prime Minister said, "When terrorism is on the rise across the world and when we are encircled by terrorism sponsored by the neighbouring country, then we will have to be united in this fight. The government expects constructive support from all opposition parties on this."

"I have complete confidence that with the dedication of the state government and with your total cooperation we will soon restore normal life in Jammu and Kashmir again," he said as he praised chief minister Mehbooba Mufti's government, in which India's ruling Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) is a partner, for its "careful handling" of the issue despite odds.

Indian security forces killed a militant leader Burhan Wani on July 8, sparking a wave of violent protests across the Himalayan region, which has been ruled in part, but claimed in full, by both India and Pakistan since 1947.

Police extended a curfew in parts of the Muslim-majority territory for a 35th day on Friday, a clampdown that Kashmiris said "showed authorities' failure to defuse deep-seated anger against Indian rule". More than 50 protesters have been killed so far and thousands have been injured in the month-long clashes. 

(With inputs from PTI, Reuters and ANI) 
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