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Invoking Kashmiriyat, PM urges Kashmiri youth to shun violence

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Modi’s message to Kashmiris: Khuda Thawenou Khush Te Khushaal

Beginning his speech in Kashmiri, Modi asked people in Srinagar to accept his “salaam” and concluded with Khuda Thawenou Khush Te Khushaal (May God keep you happy and prosperous). He spoke passionately for about 30 minutes highlighting the importance of `Kashmiriyat’.

Srinagar, May 19: Urging the Kashmiri youngsters to shun the path of violence and join the “national mainstream”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said each time they pick up a stone or a weapon, they were adding to the instability of Jammu and Kashmir.

Speaking for the first time after the government announced to halt anti-militancy operations in the state during the holy month of Ramazan, the prime minister said there is no alternative to peace and stability.

“My appeal to these misguided youths is to return to the national mainstream, which is their own family, and participate in the development of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said while dedicating the 330-MW Krishenganga power project to the nation.

Prime Minister inaugurated the project and laid the foundation stone for the Srinagar Ring Road at the Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre here today.

The 42.1-km, four-lane Srinagar Ring Road will link Galandar in west Srinagar to Sumbal in Bandipora district and reduce traffic congestion.

Modi is on a one-day visit to the state’s three regions — Leh, Kashmir and Jammu. In Leh, he launched the construction of Zojila tunnel to provide all-weather connectivity to Ladakh.

He said former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was a fan of the concept, “and I am also a follower”.

Modi said the State government and the Centre have “a policy, determination and strength to take bold decisions”.

He said the halt to operations during Ramazan will help expose “those who have been spreading terrorism in the name of Islam”.

He said there were many vested interests who do not want to see a prosperous Jammu and Kashmir.

“But friends, we need to reply to these foreign powers by keeping our march to prosperity going,” he said.

The State government and the Centre are striving hard to bring into the mainstream the “misguided youths” who are under the influence of false propaganda from a foreign power, he said.

“Every stone or weapon picked up by the youth of this state is only meant to destabilise their own state. We have to take the state out of instability for our future generations,” he said.

“The misguided youths will not only have to join Jammu and Kashmir but also the national mainstream of the country,” he added.

On the alienation of the youth, the prime minister said, “There is no power which can create a wedge between two brothers… People who have been engaging in creating a wedge between Jammu and Kashmir and rest of the country are now on the verge of extinction.”

Dwelling upon ‘Kashmiriyat’, he said, “Last year, I spent my Diwali with the jawans in Gurez and today I am amidst you during the holy month of Ramazan.”

He reiterated his Independence Day address from Red Fort last year where he had said, “Na gaali se samasya sulajhne wali hai, na goli se, samasya suljhegi har Kashmiri ko gale lagane se (The Kashmir problem cannot be resolved by either bullets or abuses. It can be resolved by embracing all Kashmiris).”

He said for ensuring permanent stability, the Centre has appointed a special representative to whom anyone can go and put forth their viewpoint.

“From the side of the government, we are leaving no stone unturned for ending the cycle of violence. But the onus on ensuring an alliance between Kashmiriyat and democracy lies with the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

The prime minister concluded his speech in Kashmiri, telling people that may God bless them.

Earlier, in her welcome address, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti thanked the prime minister for announcing the halt to anti-militancy operations during Ramazan.

“Let me share with you Prime Minister sir, today the mothers of the Kashmir Valley are sleeping peacefully as they know that there won’t be any operations.

She said she knew that it was a difficult decision. “But such decisions are taken when the Centre has the will and the determination and you showed your magnanimity in announcing such a decision. It definitely needs lot of courage,” she said.

“If the Centre has taken one step towards the people of Kashmir, the people will take 10 steps to come close to New Delhi, to come out of the cycle of violence,” she said.

Mehbooba regretted that despite efforts by Delhi, Pakistan is yet to respond. “We had an unfortunate incident yesterday at the border in Jammu region where civilians and BSF personnel were killed.”

She thanked the prime minister for agreeing to the consensus at an all party meeting where it was resolved to have a `unilateral ceasefire’.

‘J&K can provide electricity to country’

Srinagar, May 19: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said Jammu and Kashmir has the potential not only to generate electricity to meet its own needs, but also to provide power to other parts of the country.

The government is making efforts to ensure that all households in the state are electrified, as the focus is to improve the existing power distribution system, the prime minister said.

“Jammu and Kashmir has many rivers that have potential for electricity generation. This state has the potential not only to meet its own requirements, but can also produce power for the rest of the country,” he said.

“Keeping this in mind, we have been working on several projects for the past four years,” Modi said after inaugurating the 330-MW Kishanganga power project here.

He said that work on the 1,000-MW Pakal Dul power project in Kishtwar district will start soon.

“We are also making efforts to provide uninterrupted electricity supply to every household in Jammu and Kashmir, and advanced technologies such as smart meters are being used, and street-lights are being modernised.

“Rs 4,000 crore is being spent on improving the power distribution network in J&K so that every village and town of the state is lit up,” he said.

The prime minister said that the government was not only working on providing electricity to households in villages of the state, but also to ensure power bills do not become a burden on these households.

“Under the Ujala scheme, we have provided over 78 lakh LED bulbs and this has saved electricity to the tune of Rs 400 crore every year. Electricity connections are being provided free of cost to households in the state that were hitherto not electrified,” Modi said.

Earlier, Union Minister of State for Power, New and Renewable Energy R K Singh said commissioning of the Kishanganga power project was a special day for the country.

“Now, we are using our rights (of power generation) under the Indus Water Treaty. It will also help us increase the generation capacity of the Uri-I and the Uri-II power projects,” the minister said.

Singh congratulated the state government for ensuring electrification of all the 134 left out villages in Jammu and Kashmir.

“We had to use helicopters at to deliver equipment at many places. We have set a deadline of electrifying all households in Jammu and Kashmir by the end of this year. According to a briefing I have got, I am confident that the state government will accomplish it by November,” he added.

Singh said the next target of the government is to provide uninterrupted power supply across the country.

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