Narendra Modi decries attacks on Kashmiris

Our fight is not against Kashmiris, says the Prime Minister at a rally in Rajasthan’s Tonk district.

February 23, 2019 03:58 pm | Updated November 28, 2021 09:20 am IST - Jaipur

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a rally in Rajasthan’s Tonk district on February 23, 2019. Photo: Twitter/@narendramodi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a rally in Rajasthan’s Tonk district on February 23, 2019. Photo: Twitter/@narendramodi

Breaking his silence on incidents of Kashmiris being targeted in several parts of India in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday denounced the violence and said that attacking people from the Kashmir Valley would amount to playing into the hands of terrorists. “Our fight is for Kashmir, not against Kashmiris,” Mr. Modi said.

Addressing a public rally in Tonk, 100 km from here, where he kicked off the party’s Lok Sabha election campaign in Rajasthan, Mr. Modi said the incidents of violence against Kashmiri youth, whether small or big, should not have happened.

“Kashmiris [themselves] are victims of terrorism. Every child of Kashmir is with India in our fight against terror. Incidents like these give power to the Bharat ke tukde honge gang,” Mr. Modi asserted.

He said it was the responsibility of “every Indian” to protect the Kashmiris.

Civil rights activists and two former judges of the Rajasthan High Court had on Friday expressed concern over Mr. Modi’s silence on the harassment of Kashmiris, while pointing out that the Kashmiri students and workers employed in the State had been forced to leave in a “hostile atmosphere” created by right-wing groups.

Mr. Modi paid homage to the CRPF personnel killed in the February 14 terror attack and said while a “free hand” had been given to the Armed Forces to deal with the situation, stern action was being taken against separatists.

‘Settling scores’

“All scores will be settled this time... Our security forces sent the perpetrators [of Pulwama attack] within 100 hours to where they belonged,” he said, referring to an encounter in which the attack’s alleged mastermind, Abdul Rasheed Ghazi, was killed.

“Your Pradhan Sevak is busy fighting terror. I am going to put locks to the factories of terror,” he said, as the crowd at Tonk’s Saadat Pavilion Ground cheered and clapped.

The Tonk Assembly constituency is represented by Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot, who had defeated the BJP’s Yunus Khan in the 2018 election.

Mr. Modi said he had asked Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in his congratulatory phone call last year to fight together against poverty and illiteracy.

“Mr. Khan told me that he was the son of a Pathan and was pledged to do what he said... It is time to test his words,” he said.

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