Hard-hitting, blunt, historic, bold – call them anything, for PM Narendra Modi’s concluding remarks at the all-party meeting on Jammu & Kashmir, have left Pakistan fuming! Stating that Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) is a part of the state of J&K, PM Modi said, “Today, when we talk of Jammu & Kashmir, we should talk about four parts of the State of Jammu & Kashmir: Jammu, Kashmir Valley, Ladakh, and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.” “The fundamental reason for disturbances in Kashmir is cross-border terrorism promoted by our neighbouring country. Due to terrorism normal life in Kashmir Valley is affected,” the Prime Minister slammed. “…when weapons have been seized in such huge numbers, so many foreign terrorists have infiltrated to spread death and destruction, the world will never accept the false propaganda of Pakistan, even if it speaks a hundred thousand lies,” Modi added.
The Prime Minister also warned, “Pakistan forgets that it bombs its own citizens using fighter planes. The time has come when Pakistan shall have to answer to the world for the atrocities committed by it against people in Baluchistan and PoK.” Modi’s mention of both PoK and Balochistan has evoked strong response, with Baloch leaders welcoming the support and urging PM to raise the issue in UN’s session September. Modi’s comments also come at a time when Gilgit-Baltistan is on fire after massive protests erupted against a crackdown by Pakistan’s security forces. Gilgit-Baltistan is a part of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). In case you missed it, here is the full text of PM Modi’s statements, as released by the Prime Minister’s Office:
I am very happy to note that all our colleagues have expressed one voice and one sentiment.
Today, when we talk of Jammu & Kashmir, we should talk about four parts of the State of Jammu & Kashmir: Jammu, Kashmir Valley, Ladakh, and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
I am thankful to leaders of all political parties for the concerns they have expressed about the current situation in parts of Jammu & Kashmir. The rich traditions nurtured by our democracy for last six decades have been the biggest strength of unity and integrity of our country. We may have some differences on some issues but when it comes to the integrity and sovereignty of the country, we all stand united.
Like every Indian, I have been deeply hurt by the recent incidents in Jammu & Kashmir. It is very sad to see that children are not able to study, apple produce is not able to reach the mandis, shopkeepers are not getting their daily income and Government offices are not able to work for the service of the people. The poor are the worst affected by this situation.
Our existence as political workers is on account of the people. They are our strength, our source of energy; In fact, people’s power is a vital part of our public life. Irrespective of whether a civilian or security force personnel is injured or killed, the pain is felt by all of us. I express deep sympathies to their families. We are committed to provide the best healthcare services to the injured; we want to restore peace in the Valley at the earliest possible so that people can lead their normal life, can earn their livelihoods, send their children to school and sleep peacefully at night.
We are committed to a permanent and peaceful solution to the issue of Jammu & Kashmir in accordance with the basic principles of the Constitution. We have an open mind and our doors are always open. We are committed to the welfare of every citizen of the entire State of Jammu & Kashmir. We have been following the path shown by Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji to find a solution.
Jammu & Kashmir is often called the crown of India. In fact, Jammu & Kashmir is a symbol of the age old commitment of equanimity towards all creeds (sarv-panth sambhaav), where Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Muslims have been living together for centuries. The state of Jammu & Kashmir is the symbol of our founding fathers’ faith which defines us as Indian in spite of our diversity. Jammu & Kashmir is not only a matter of our territorial integrity but also defines our nationhood. We cannot deny the fact that the security forces have suffered a lot of injuries; that they have been the target of planned attacks. Despite this, our security forces have shown restraint. Statistics reveal that security personnel have been injured in large numbers.
Despite false propaganda by certain elements in Kashmir, the percentage of those spreading confusion and unrest; and those instigating youth is very low. Every Kashmiri wants peace, has faith in Democracy. That is why, despite threats by separatist elements during every election, the Kashmiri people have expressed faith in the Indian democratic system in each election (festival of Indian democracy). Even just prior to the recent disturbances, high votes were cast in the constituency of Chief Minister Mehbooba ji. Therefore, to spread the myth that this is a public agitation is far from the truth.
In some areas certain restrictions were imposed in order to maintain law and order. This is an administrative way of maintaining law and order. Otherwise the lives of peace loving people will be affected adversely. In reality, a common man was not troubled as much by such restrictions, as he was troubled by continuous strikes declared by separatist elements.
During this period, the Amarnath Yatra proceeded smoothly. In addition, the State Government has taken up a number of initiatives on solar energy in the Ladakh region. The NEET, CET, and UPSC Civil Services Exams were organised as per schedule. All essential commodities were provided to citizens. We are now approaching the crucial season for tourism. The Apple crop will also be ready for harvest. This is of paramount importance for the livelihood of a common Kashmiri. Certain separatist elements are trying to take advantage of this time and disturb the peace in Kashmir, and unnecessarily disrupt the lives of peace-loving citizens.
The fundamental reason for disturbances in Kashmir is cross-border terrorism promoted by our neighbouring country. Due to terrorism normal life in Kashmir Valley is affected. Since the start of Terrorist activities in Kashmir in 1989-1990, in action by the Security Forces:
• More than 34,000 AK 47 Rifles were seized.
• More than 5000 Grenade launchers were seized.
• Around 90 LMGs were seized.
• More than 12,000 Revolvers were seized.
• 3 Anti Tank Guns and 4 Anti Aircraft Guns were seized.
• More than 350 Missile Launchers were seized.
• 63,000 kilograms of explosives including RDX and more than one lakh Grenades were seized.
• During this period more than 5,000 foreign terrorists were killed which is almost equal to the strength of 5 Battalions.
When weapons have been seized in such huge numbers, so many foreign terrorists have infiltrated to spread death and destruction, the world will never accept the false propaganda of Pakistan, even if it speaks a hundred thousand lies.
Pakistan forgets that it bombs its own citizens using fighter planes. The time has come when Pakistan shall have to answer to the world for the atrocities committed by it against people in Baluchistan and PoK.
We are fully committed to the fundamental rights of the people. Our anti-terror laws are more humane than those of any other democracy in the world. Our governments and our security forces have shown restraint in dealing with these incidents.
India will fight against terrorism with full might and resolve. This is our national duty. To consider India’s commitment to the Rule of Law, as a weakness, will be a mistake by our opponents. India is committed to end terrorism. For us, ‘means and ends’ are both important and we are sufficiently capable in both these regards.
It is also a fact that Kashmiri Pandits have been displaced from their centuries-old ancestral dwellings in Kashmir Valley. Such atrocity against a particular community is the misdeed of terrorists trained and armed with weapons by Pakistan, and their sympathizers. These can never be the deeds of those who believe in “Kashmiriyat.”
For the all round development of Jammu and Kashmir, a decision has been taken for implementing a development package of more than Rs. 80 thousand crore (800 billion rupees) in consultation with the State Government. This package not only has proposals for roads and electricity projects, it actually envisages development of every region and every section of society of Jammu and Kashmir. This includes better facility for education of children, employment to youths, modern facility for treatment, facilities for promotion of tourism in the state and special arrangements for production of fruits in the State.
In order to provide employment immediately, the government has decided that 10 thousand Special Police Officers (SPOs), about 1200 Para Military and about 4000 candidates in 5 IR battalions will be recruited. In addition, about 1 lakh 25 thousand (125,000) persons will be trained under Udaan and HIMAYAT schemes so that unemployed people can get appropriate employment.
The PDP-BJP government led by Ms. Mehbooba Mufti is making best efforts to address the State’s problems. During the last one month, the Government has tackled the situation very carefully in spite of extremely adverse circumstances. The whole nation stands with her.
I would like to reiterate that the Central and State Governments are committed to address the people’s genuine grievances and restore peace in the state. We will deal strictly with acts of violence, terrorism and anti India activities. At the same time, genuine grievances of every person will be heard and addressed.
I would like to reiterate that all the political parties and all Indians will have to stand united in the fight against terrorism and destructive forces. At a time when terrorism is spreading its wings across the world, and terrorism is being instigated by our neighbour, we will have to fight this battle unitedly. The government has an expectation of constructive cooperation from all political parties in this matter. All political parties will have to bury their differences and cooperate to restore peace and prosperity in the state. I fully believe that with the active efforts of the state government and with your full cooperation, we will be able to restore normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir very soon.
I would like to reiterate our main steps and our policy in respect of Kashmir:
1) It is the duty of any Government to maintain law and order. There will be no compromise with terrorism.
2) In today’s age, in accordance with democratic traditions, we will encourage involvement of civil society with citizen activities.
3) We will take forward the political process, in accordance with democratic traditions.
4) The process of connecting Kashmiri youth with economic activities of the State will be speeded up.
5) The States in which people of Jammu & Kashmir are residing, whether they are Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs or Buddhists or of any religion, should approach them and should make efforts so that they can establish contact with their relatives in Jammu & Kashmir and can apprise them about their own progress and the progress in other States of India.
6) Ministry of External Affairs should make efforts to approach the people of PoK residing in different parts of world and collect information about the miserable conditions in PoK and bring them to the knowledge of the world community.
I once again thank you all for giving your important views and suggestions in this meeting. I thank you all for supporting the Government. We all are committed to this national spirit that there cannot be any compromise on India’s territorial integrity. We are ready to address grievances of all sections within the framework of the Constitution.