PM to Kashmir youth: 40 years bloodshed helped no one, progress through tourism

PM Modi with Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti during a public rally at Battal in Udhampur, Jammu on Sunday. (Source: PTI) PM Modi with Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti during a public rally at Battal in Udhampur, Jammu on Sunday. (Source: PTI)

Opening a chapter of new India by inaugurating the 9 km long Chenani-Nashri tunnel as “tunnel of fortune for the Valley” , Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday asked stone pelters in Kashmir to shun violence and adopt the path of development and progress through tourism.

“Now there are only two roads before youth of Kashmir which will decide their fate. One is tourism and another is terrorism,” Modi said while addressing nearly one lakh strong crowd here this evening. “Many people have lost their lives during last 40 years, but it has not benefitted anybody,” he added.

“If blood has got spilled, it has been spilled on the soil of Kashmir and if any life lost, it is a Kashmir mother or an Indian who has lost her son,” he said. “This game of bloodshed has not benefitted anybody in Kashmir even after 40 years,” he added.

“However, if they had focused on tourism during all these years, the entire world would have been at the feet of Kashmir, ” Modi said, adding that” this has been the power of Kashmir”.

“I want to tell the youth of Kashmir as to what is the power of the stone”. ” On one side when some misguided youth have been pelting stones (on security forces), there are many youth from the same Valley who have been breaking stones to bring fortunes to Kashmir,” he said.

Referring to thousands of chores spent on construction of the tunnel, Prime Minister said that money spent on its construction may be of Government of India, but along with this money thousands of youth from Kashmir Valley have also shed their sweat for it. “Over 2,500 youth from Kashmir continued breaking stones and constructing this tunnel day and night for 1,000 days and creating countless job opportunities beyond everybody ‘s imagination ,” he said.

Pointing out that the Chenani-Nashri tunnel is going to play an important role in creating a new history of tourism in Kashmir, Modi said that this may have been built between Udhampur and Ramban districts, “but people of the Valley shall never ever forget that it is the luck line of Kashmir”. In this connection, he referred to huge losses incurred by farmers and fruit growers when on account of closure of national highway their fruit and other yield get perished on way to markets in Delhi. “This tunnel has come as a blessing for the farmers of Kashmir as they will now be able to bring their produce in markets of Delhi for sale on time,” he added.

Modi also referred to every Indians dream of once visiting Kashmir, he asked people to understand the power of tourism. Once tourism increases, Kashmir will automatically move ahead on the path of progress and development, he added and assured all help from Delhi in building infrastructure for tourists.

Pointing out that Kashmir has the potential of rapidly increasing per capita income of its people, Prime Minister said that “I can realise it’s strength as I have worked and lived here as an RSS”. “I know many people here and it’s Sufi culture. If we forgot these priceless values then we will lose our present and make our future dark,” he added.

Invoking Atul Behar Vajpayee, Prime Minister reiterated his government ‘s resolve to take Kashmir on the path of development and progress through Kashmiriyat, Insaaniyat and Jamhooriyat. “We will continue taking one step after another in this direction and no hurdle can stop us,” he said in apparent reference to separatists and mainstream opposition, besides Pakistan . “Those sitting across the border cannot even take care of themselves,” he said adding that his government wants to development Kashmir to such an extent that even people of Pakistan occupied Kashmir realise that Pakistan has only ruined them.

“Development is our mantra, and public participation is our way, ” he said, adding” we have to take along youth to build the future”. In this context, he said that nine more such tunnels have been planned in the State. “It will be not only connecting the roads, but hearts,”, he added.

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