Srinagar: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said Kashmir has to decide between tourism and terrorism – presenting the Chenani-Nashri tunnel he opened on Sunday in the state Sunday as a key to prosperity. The longest tunnel of the country, he said, will not only bring in tourists by cutting down the travel time, but help Kashmir’s farmers to sell their produce elsewhere. The separatists of the state had called for a strike in the state today in protest against the Prime Minister’s visit, claiming the problem the state faces is political and development is not the solution.
“I want to ask the people of Kashmir… on the one side there is tourism, on the other, terrorism,” PM Modi said. Pointing that many innocents have lost their lives, but “no one has gained anything”, he added, “If tourism had been promoted in these 40 years, the world would have been at Kashmir’s feet”.
Last year, Kashmir has witnessed five months of protest following the death of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani. Hundreds of young men had hit the streets and clashed with security forces, many had been injured. Education had been severely hampered, with schools and colleges shutting down due to the violence and strike call by separatists.
Today, addressing the young men of the Valley who have been behind the stone throwing protests, the Prime Minister underscored, “While some are busy throwing rocks, others are busy in cutting them and making way for Kashmir’s progress”.
PM Modi also invoked his predecessor Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s famous call for “Kashmiriyat, Insaniyat, Jamooriyat” – a policy that had evoked a heartfelt response from Kashmir.
He also attacked Pakistan for exploiting the people of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. He said he wanted to show the people of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir how Jammu and Kashmir can develop. “Let the people of PoK see what development is, so they know the exploitation they have suffered from those controlling them,” he added.