Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday the people of Kashmir needed development and trust, adding “we will succeed” in improving the situation in the strife-torn region by marching on this path.
“We will proceed together, maintaining peace, unity and goodwill so that the heaven called Kashmir will remain heaven,” Modi said in an interview with CNN News 18.
Authorities re-imposed curfew in most areas of Kashmir on Friday to prevent protests after weekly congregational prayers. Widespread protests broke out in the valley after security forces killed Hizbul Mujahideen militant commander Burhan Wani on July 8.
“Whenever we talk about J&K (Jammu and Kashmir), we should take the entire picture of Jammu, the Valley and the Ladakh region into account. The seed of the problem was sown ever since independence and division of our country. Every government had to battle with this problem. This is not a new problem, it is an old one,” the PM said.
With a schoolboy drowning in Srinagar when a mob was being chased by the security forces on Thursday, the death toll in the ongoing unrest has risen to 72.
An all-party delegation will visit Kashmir on September 4 in stepped up efforts by the government to end the fresh wave of violence.
“I believe the youth of Kashmir will not be distracted… I always maintain that people of Kashmir need both development and trust. And the billion strong Indians have always stayed committed to both development and have never wavered from commitment of trust. This belief is still there today and it will always be there in future as well,” Modi said.
The Centre and the state government have agreed the all-party delegation will not be stopped from engaging with the separatists in Kashmir, sources said after a meeting between Modi and chief minister Mehbooba Mufti.
Modi had expressed “deep concern and pain” last month over the weeks-long deadly violence in Kashmir, saying there was a need for dialogue and a permanent solution to the region’s troubles.
The PM’s comments were seen as conciliatory after he spoke of Balochistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in his Independence Day speech but not the protests in Kashmir. Several of his ministers had also called the protesters aggressors and said there would be no compromise with them.