Way forward in resolving problems in Kashmir is embracing its people, not bullets:…

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday called embracing the people and “not going down the path of bullets and abuses” as the way forward in resolving problems in Jammu and Kashmir. He reiterated former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s vision of “insaniyat, (humanity), jamhooriyat (democracy), and Kashmiriyat (inclusive Kashmiri culture),” for the state.

In his fifth Independence day speech, Modi called the path Vajpayee showed to end Kashmir’s problems the right one and said his government would follow the same approach.

“We want to walk down the same path. Vajpayee ji had said insaniyat, Kashmiriyat and jamhooriyat were the three guiding points to be followed for the balanced development of the state, whether it is Ladakh, Kashmir valley or the Jammu region,” Modi said. He said Vajpayee’s vision for peace would go a long way in meeting the aspirations of the state’s people.

Modi said local bodies elections would be held soon in the state, which is under Governor’s rule since Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) withdrew support from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP)-led coalition government in June. The elections will be held from September to December in a phased manner, Governor Narendra Nath Vohra said on Wednesday.

The elections were scheduled to be held in January. But they were deferred after the coalition government told the Centre the situation was not conducive for the polls.

Panchayat polls were last held in the state in 2011. Urban local body elections have not been held for eight years.

Modi said the left-wing extremism had been restricted to 90 districts, compared to 126 earlier. He attributed it to the sustained efforts of the security forces and new development schemes. “Development activities are progressing at a swift pace.”

Modi said Tripura, Meghalaya and several parts of Arunachal Pradesh in the Northeast were no longer under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act’s purview. Modi credited the efforts of security personnel, the state and central governments’ pro-active measures and development schemes for the improved scenario.

“There was a time when the Northeast felt distant from Delhi. But within the last four years, we have succeeded to get Delhi to the threshold of the Northeast.” Modi said the region’s last villages had been electrified.

First Published: Aug 16, 2018 01:04 IST

Updated: August 16, 2018 — 8:18 am