PM Modi’s Kashmir outreach fails to cut ice with separatists spearheading ‘azadi groundswell’

NEW DELHI,ISHFAQ-UL-HASSAN: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Kashmir outreach has failed to cut ice with the separatists who are spearheading the ‘azadi groundswell’ that has so far claimed 56 lives and injured over 6,000 people.

After 32 days Modi tried to reach out to Kashmir by promising to follow former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s doctrine of Insaniyat (humanity), Kashmiriyat (pluralistic culture) and Jamooriyat (democracy).

Speaking at a rally in Madhya Pradesh, Modi noted that every Indian loves Kashmir and Kashmir can too feel the azaadi (freedom) that every Indian feels.

Separatists were quick to react to the Prime Minister’s speech saying there is no outreach as such and Kashmir is a political problem which needs a political resolution.

“What is it that is forcing Kashmiris to join militancy and take up guns? It is because there is oppression, black laws. denial of basic human rights et al. Delhi needs to acknowledge the basic political problem and understand that there has to be a political resolution and not military solution to it”, said Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of moderate Hurriyat Conference, who is one of three separatist leaders spearheading the agitation.

Mirwaiz noted that the government is adopting an iron-fisted approach against the protestors and there is no word of sympathy as such. “Pellet guns continue to be used. Everyday people are being killed and injuries are mounting. They are now cracking down heavily. The killings have to stop; blatant use of force has to stop. Political, human, civil and religious rights have to be restored”, he said

What, however, added another dimension to the issue was the tweet by the PMO: “Be it the J&K Government under Mehbooba Mufti or the Central Government, we are finding solution to all problems through development: PM”

Former J&K chief minister and National Conference working president Omar Abdullah was quick to react saying development does not solve all the problems. “Here in lies the crux of the problem — the unwillingness to accept that development doesn’t solve all problems”, Omar tweeted.

Ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) however welcomed Modi’s Kashmir outreach saying the Prime Minister’s speech was emotional and Kashmiri people were looking for the love from the country.

“It is a very good move to have revived Vajpayee’s legacy. There was a sense of belonging in his entire speech. He (Modi) has already walked in the steps of Vajpayee which communicates a lot of things”, said Waheed-ur-Rehman Para, youth president of PDP.