STATING THAT the Union government’s objective in scrapping special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 was to “honour the sentiments of 130 crore Indians” and “accomplish the long-pending dream of oneness and a united India”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that the need of the hour is to embrace all Kashmiris in order to make a “naya Kashmir” — a new Kashmir.
Addressing a public rally in Nashik to mark the conclusion of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s Mahajanadesh Yatra, Modi said development of every Kashmiris is his government’s commitment and pledge. “A violence-free Kashmir is our promise,” he added.
Modi also took on NCP chief Sharad Pawar for his recent remarks on Pakistan. He said that instead of supporting the government on the decision on J&K “taken in national interest”, Opposition leaders are making comments for selfish political interests.
He said: “The Congress being in a state of confusion is understandable. But when an experienced leader like Sharad Pawar makes false statements for votes, it hurts. Sharad Pawar says he likes Pakistan. He praises Pakistan for being a welfare state. Now, it can be his view and analysis, (but) every Indian and the world knows where the terror factory is; who promotes and foments terrorism.”
The NCP hit back and accused Modi of distorting Pawar’s comments about Pakistan. NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said in Mumbai that the Prime Minister should either prove that the NCP chief praised the rulers of the neighbouring country or apologise, PTI reported.
Addressing an event at the NCP headquarters in Mumbai on September 14, Pawar, a former Union minister, had said, “I have visited Pakistan and received their hospitality… It is a misplaced fact that people in Pakistan are unhappy. The present government has been spreading lies about Pakistan for their own political benefits.”
At the Nashik rally, Modi said, “Hamey naya Kashmir banana hai, har Kashmiri ko gale lagana hai (we want to make a new Kashmir, embrace each Kashmiri).”
But, he said, without taking names, when Opposition leaders make such statements, “it gives our rivals a weapon to distort and wrongly project India’s image (before the world)…. Even now there are efforts across the border to instigate and trigger violence in Jammu and Kashmir.”
He said the youth and the women in Kashmir are against violence —- “they want development; they want employment.”
Meanwhile, in what is being seen as a dig at ally Shiv Sena, which has been taking potshots at the Union government off and on over its failure to build the Ram temple at Ayodhya, Modi said, “Kuch bayan bahadur log anap-shanap bol rahey hai (some loudmouths are making irresponsible statements on Ram temple. (But) all citizens have respect for the Supreme Court, which is hearing the matter. Making statements out of context creates new hurdles, so everyone should show trust in the top court and in the judicial system.”
Reiterating the government’s commitment to make the Army stronger, the PM said, “Rafael fighter jets will soon be part of the Army.” He also promised a defence logistic hub in Nashik, which houses the historic Bhosale Military Training School.
He also said that other parties, when in power, could not provide bulletproof jackets to soldiers who fought against terrorists, but in five years the BJP-led government has addressed these problems. “Today we not only make world-class bulletproof jackets but also export them to 100 countries,” Modi said.