NEW DELHI: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had greeted his Pakistan counterpart on winning the election. On Saturday, he recalled the promising conversation and urged Prime Minister Imran Khan to keep his word as a Pathan and fight poverty and illiteracy together with India instead of fighting each other.
Mr Modi, who was speaking at a public meeting in Tonk in Rajasthan where his party lost the state assembly to the Congress party recently, denounced the attacks on Kashmiri citizens in different parts of India. His comforting comments came four days after the Supreme Court directed state chief secretaries to stop the mobs from attacking Kashmiri citizens.
“Pakistan got its new prime minister, who everyone knew as a cricketer. I called him to greet him as a matter of protocol. I said to him, Mr Prime Minister India and Pakistan have fought several times. It hasn’t done your country any good. Why don’t we fight poverty and illiteracy together. The prime minister agreed and assured me: ‘I am the son of a Pathan and I speak the truth…will always be true to my words.’ The time has come to see if Mr Khan will stand by his words.”
Denouncing the attacks on Kashmiris, Mr Modi said the fight was for Kashmir, not against Kashmiris.
Denounces attacks on Kashmiri citizens in different parts of country
“Aur mai dekh raha hu, ki in dino social media par jaise veer ras ki baadh ayi hai. Lekin bhaiyo aur beheno, hamari ladai, atankbad ke khilaf hai, manavta ke dushmano ke khilaf hai, hamari ladai, Kashmir ke liye hai, Kahsmir ke khilaf nahi hai, Kashmirion ke khilaf nahi hai. (I am seeing that these days, social media is flooded with bravado. But brothers and sisters, our fight is against terrorism, against the enemies of humanity. Our fight is for Kashmir, not against it, not against Kashmiris).
Mr Modi broke his silence on the issue a day after the Supreme Court directed the chief secretaries and police chiefs of all states and union territories to take “prompt action” to prevent incidents of “assault, threat, social boycott and such other egregious acts” against Kashmiris, including students, and other minorities.
He further said that children of Kashmir are troubled by terrorists. “Kashmir ka bachcha bachcha, wo bhi in atankawadioyin se pareshan hai, wo bhi atankawad ko khatam karne ke liye hamare sath ane ke liye taiyar hai, haemin usko sath rakhna hai,” Mr Modi said. (Every child of Kashmir is troubled by terrorists, he also is ready to come with us to end terrorism, we need to keep him with us).
The Indian PM said that when Hindu devotees going to Amarnath cave shrine in Kashmir were attacked, Muslims of Kashmiri and the valley’s people had enthusiastically stood in queues to donate blood to them. He added that it is the duty of every citizen in India to protect Kashmiris living in any corner of the country.
Expressing his condolences to the families of the Pulwama attack, the prime minister said, “Not just India, the entire world is with you.”
Mr Modi praised the security forces for killing alleged militants India claims were the mastermind of the Pulwama attack.
He also targeted the Congress for its attack on the government over the Pulwama suicide bombing. “It is sad to see a few people speaking in the language of Pakistan while residing in India. These are the same people who will visit Pakistan and request them to do anything to overthrow the Modi government,” he said. “These are the same people who failed to take any concrete steps to curb terrorism after the 2008 Mumbai attacks.”
Soon after his speech, former chief minister of India-held Kashmir Omar Abdullah expressed the hope that the attack on Kashmiri students will now stop. Taking to Twitter, the National Conference leader said: “It’s been more than a week since the terrible attack in Pulwama and more than a week that Kashmiris have been bearing the brunt of the public anger. Perhaps finally after PM Modi has spoken, these forces targeting Kashmiris will stop in their tracks.”
On Friday, the apex court had issued notices to the Centre and 10 states and sought their reply.
These are the states that have reported incidents of threat and violence against Kashmiris over the last week.
Published in Dawn, February 24th, 2019