Modi says Kashmiris have right to speak in democracy

  • Indian PM says Kashmir issue be solved by love, by embracing all Kashmiri people

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday urged a more conciliatory approach towards Jammu Kashmir, saying problems can be solved by embracing the (Kashmiri) people rather than resorting to abuse or bullets.

“Neither bullets nor brickbats will solve the Kashmir issue! It will only be solved by love and by embracing all Kashmiris. I want to tell them (Kashmiris) that come into the mainstream, you have a right to speak in a democracy,” he said in his Independence Day speech at the Red Fort here.

In his long speech, the Indian prime minister made a special reference to Kashmir, saying his government was committed to restoring the lost glory of Kashmiri state and its status as heaven on earth. The Indian media reported signals about a possible shift in Prime Minister Modi’s policy towards the disputed state.

In his 57-minute speech, the Indian prime minister was silent on foreign policy with no mention of relations with either Pakistan or China. Hurriyat Conference Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said that the region’s problems could be solved if humanism and justice replaced bullets and abuses.

“We look forward to being embraced in the warm grip of understanding, acceptance and respect. His (Modi’s) words for Kashmir have been very well received by people here but everyone here is weary of yet more talk and no concrete action,” said Omar Abdullah, a former chief minister and leader of the National Conference party, in a series of tweets.

In Kashmir Valley, the Internet and mobile phone services were suspended as a ‘precautionary’ measure, officials said. Only BSNL landline service was functional in the valley. The Internet facilities and services of all other mobile phone operators were suspended, they said.

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