SAYING his government was committed to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, that is pending in the Rajya Sabha, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday that his government would stand with the children of “Maa Bharati (Mother India)” who have faced persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
Addressing a rally at Vijaypur in Jammu region, at the site of a proposed AIIMS, Modi said, “Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh mein aisi Maa Bharati ki anek santaney hein jin par atyachar hua. Wo kabhi hamare ganatantra ka hissa they (There are many children of Mother India in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh who have faced persecution. They were once a part of our Republic). We shall have to stand for justice and protection of the rights of all these people who were once part of undivided India and got separated during 1947.”
Later in the day, addressing a rally in Srinagar, Modi asserted that his government would “break the backbone of terror in Jammu and Kashmir”. While he said they would work to realise the dreams and legacy of former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, there was no political outreach offered or mention of Vajpayee’s oft-repeated promise of “Kashmiriyat, Insaaniyat, Jamhooriyat”.
During his visit, the PM also went to Leh.
Targeting the Congress for its opposition to the citizenship Bill, Modi said when in power, it had not paid “attention to the pain of our brothers and sisters”. “But we have brought the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill with a commitment… If they are discriminated against on the basis of faith, the country will stand with them.”
In a reference to the Kartarpur Corridor issue, Modi said, “Previous governments tended to ignore the necessities and sentiments of the country. You are well aware of that… Had they paid attention, the land of Guru Nanak Dev would have been a part of India.”
At the massive rally, attended by thousands and marked by slogans hailing him, Modi welcomed into the partyfold Lt General (retd) R K Sharma and Mohammad Haneef, father of Rifleman Aurangzeb who was killed by militants in the Valley last year.
In his 38-minute speech, the PM said his government wanted a powerful and prosperous India, and “would do everything to achieve it”. “Aap logon ke support se, ek naya Bharat banega, jo saksham bhi hoga aur sashakt bhi (With your support, a new India will be created, which will be able and prosperous).” Modi said the Interim Budget his government had presented strengthened their resolve of “Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas”.
Talking about security forces personnel who had died fighting militants, including Aurangzeb, Nazir Ahmed Wani (awarded the highest peace-time gallantry award on Republic Day) and Imtiaz Ahmed Mir, he said, “I assure the families of martyrs that the government of India stands by you… Terror is being tackled and no stone will be left unturned to strengthen democracy and for equitable development of all the three regions of the state.”
The PM also ressured people living along the border with Pakistan that his government would ensure their protection from firing from across, pointing out that the government was constructing 14,000 bunkers for them.
Reaching out to Kashmiri Pandits, Modi said his government wanted to ensure their “dignified and honorable” return to the Valley. “We haven’t forgotten their persecution. I always feel their pain and agony. In Kashmir, I will be laying foundation stones for construction of houses at two places for their resettlement there.”
Criticising the Congress for its debt waiver promise for farmers, Modi claimed that his government didn’t believe in “such short-term measures” but concrete measures to address woes of farmers. He cited opening of Jan Dhan accounts for direct benefit transfers, and said his government will soon disburse Rs 75,000 crore directly to the accounts of farmers under the PM-KISAN scheme. He said this would benefit “90 per cent of farmers in every village”.
At his Srinagar rally, held amidst a shutdown call, an Internet clampdown and massive security, and comprising bureaucrats, government employees and panchayat members, Modi said, “I want to assure the youth of Jammu and Kashmir and the entire country that we will fight terrorism with full force. Every terrorist would be given a befitting response… By conducting surgical strikes, we have told the world what is now the policy and practice of India.”
Paying tributes to slain Armyman Nazir Ahmad Wani again, Modi said, “Youth like Shaheed Nazir Ahmad Wani, Shaheed Mohammad Aurangzeb and Tajamul Islam (a teenage kickboxer) are the heroes of Jammu and Kashmir… Heroes are those who live to realise dreams. The biggest coward is one who kills the dreams of others.”
Talking about Vajpayee, the PM said, “I want to assure you that the dreams Vajpayee would see, the work he gave us in legacy, we will not step back even a little bit from that.”
During his visit to all the three regions of the state, the PM inaugurated development projects worth Rs 3,000, including a hydel power, AIIMS, roads and bridges and colleges. The University of Ladakh, inaugurated by him, is the first university in the Ladakh region.