PM Modi takes on Pakistan in I-Day speech, rakes up PoK, Balochistan

  • Sandip Bardhan, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 15, 2016 15:00 IST
PM Narendra Modi interacts with schoolchildren on the occasion of India’s 70th Independence Day at Red Fort. (Arvind Yadav/ HT Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a dig at Pakistan – without naming the neighbour -- on Monday for “glorifying terrorists” and succumbing to a “life influenced by terrorism”.

Delivering a speech from the Red Fort on India’s 70th Independence Day, Modi also touched upon Balochistan and Gilgit, where Pakistani forces have been accused of using excessive force.

The mention of the two troubled areas is in line with the government’s recent decision to raise rights violations to hit back at Pakistan for stoking unrest in the Valley.

The decision was taken at an all-party meeting called to review the situation in Kashmir, where at least 58 people have died since protests broke out against the killing of militant leader Burhan Wani on July 8.

As it happened: Need to fight against social evils to make India strong, says PM on I-Day

“India cried after schoolchildern in Peshawar (in Pakistan) were killed in a terror attack,” Modi said, referring to the Taliban gunmen massacring 132 children in an army school in December 2014.

“But on the other side, there is an effort to glorify terrorists,” the PM said, presenting a “contrasting” picture.

His remarks are being viewed as a response to Pakistan’s support for Wani, who was hailed as a martyr by Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

“The people of Balochistan, Gilgit and PoK (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir) have thanked me a lot in the past few days. I am grateful to them,” Modi said, reacting to Baloch leaders’ call for help.

Resource-rich Balochistan, which supplies much of the natural gas to textile industry in Pakistan’s Punjab, has been battling waves of insurgency by Baloch nationalists since 1948.

Modi also requested the youth who have taken up guns to return to the mainstream. “There is no place for violence in our society. Unity in diversity: this is our strength,” he said.

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