In a fresh bid to reach out to people of the valley, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said “Ekta” (unity) and “Mamata” (love) are the basic mantras for addressing Kashmir problem even as he slammed those pushing “innocent” children to violence, saying they will have to answer them some day.
Seeking to strike a chord with the people of Kashmir, he said if any life is lost in the valley, whether of any youth or any securityman, “that loss is ours, of our own, of our own country”.
Speaking on the unrest in the valley in his monthly radio programme ‘Mann Ki Baat’, Modi said, “From the interactions I had with all parties on Kashmir, one thing emerged from those, which can be put in simple words as ‘Ekta’ and ‘Mamata’. These two things were the basic mantra.”
He said all the political parties had spoken in one voice on Kashmir, sending out a “message to the world as well as separatist forces” besides conveying “our sentiments to the people of Kashmir”.
He equated it to the passage of landmark GST Bill by Parliament for which all the parties came together, saying it showed that big tasks can be achieved by walking jointly.
“It is the view of all of us, the view of 125 crore people from a pradhan of a village to the Prime Minister, that if any life is lost in Kashmir, whether of any youth or any securityman, that loss is ours, our own country,” Modi said.
At the same time, he slammed “those people who push small children to try to create unrest in Kashmir”, saying “some day, they will have to give answers to these innocent children”.
The Prime Minister’s remarks came a day after Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti met him and presented a “three-pronged action plan” that includes dialogue with all stakeholders.
“This country is very big, full of diversities. To keep it united, it is the responsibility of all of us, as individual citizens, as a society and as a government, to strengthen the unity as much as we can, highlight it as much as we can. Only then can the nation achieve its bright future. I have confidence in the power of 125 crore people of the country,” he said in the 23rd edition of his programme.
During the 35-minute programme, he also talked about the Rio Olympics and hailed the girl power as he referred to medal winners — shuttler P V Sindhu and wrestler Sakshi. He also hailed gymnast Dipa Karmakar, who narrowly missed a medal.
He said Indian participants in other events like hockey, shooting and boxing also performed well.
“But my countrymen, we need to do a lot more. But if we continue doing what we have been doing, then perhaps we will again be disappointed,” he said while mentioning about thousands of messages to him from people who wanted him to speak on the subject of sports in view of poor performance in Rio Olympics as they were badly disappointed. In the context of Olympics, the Prime Minister referred to his recent announcement to form a Task Force under which the government will “go deep” into the subject, study the best practices in the world and prepare a roadmap for the next three Olympic Games in 2020, 2024 and 2028. “We have to formulate a long-term programme,” he said.
He asked state governments also to form such committees so that impetus could be given to sports. He said states can also send their suggestions to the Centre in this regard.
He said associations linked to sports should also do brain-storming in an unbiased manner.
Modi invited even individual citizens, with interest in sports, to write to him or the government. “We should do all preparations and I am confident that the country of 125 crore people, 65 per cent of them youth, will move ahead with this resolve,” he said.
He also paid rich tributes to hockey legend Dhyan Chand on the eve of his birthday. In the programme, he also spoke about the upcoming event to grant sainthood to Mother Teresa on September 4 which will be attended by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
He also talked about teacher-student relationship in the context of upcoming Teacher’s Day on September 5, efforts to clean river Ganga, Swacch Bharat abhiyan, eco-friendly Ganesh immersion and the recent launch of Akashvani Maitri radio channel under which content will be shared in Bengali by West Bengal and Bangladesh.
In the context of launch of Akashvani Maitri channel by President Pranab Mukherjee recently, Modi said India has always maintained that its relations with neighbours should be “deep” and easy” as well as “lively”.
He also made a mention of an 84-year-old retired woman teacher, who had written to him, mentioning about her giving up LPG subsidy and donating Rs 50,000 for women who still use firewood.
He talked about floods in various parts of the country and said efforts are being made by local authorities as well as the central government to provide help to the victims.
Speaking about the power of unity, Modi said, “in August 2016, parties having intense political rivalry, parties which do not let go any chance to attack the other, all came together to pass the GST bill.” There are 90 parties in all, he said.
In the context of Teacher’s Day, he showered praise on P Gopichand, a renowned badminton player and coach of P V Sindhu, saying he is a shining example of a good teacher who gets deeply involved in his pupil’s performance.
He said he would not be able to participate in Teacher’s Day events this year as he would be travelling for G-20 Summit in China.
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