The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government will "break the back" of militancy in Kashmir, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday, and described development of Jammu and Kashmir as "priority" for New Delhi.
Addressing a gathering at Sher-e-Kashmir international convention center (SKICC) here, Modi said he assures the youth of Jammu and Kashmir and the entire country that his government would fight militancy with full might and "give a befitting response" to every militant.
We will break the backbone of militancy in the state, Modi said.
The Prime Minister was on a daylong visit to all three regions of J&K to inaugurate or lay foundation of several developmental projects.
He said the entire country was angry over the killing of "innocent people" in Kashmir.
"These boys and girls were killed because they wanted peace and wished to live," he said, asserting that these people became victims of militancy and that this is the "reality" of militancy here.
Paying homage to slain soldier, lance naik Nazir Ahmed Wani and army man Aurangzeb, Modi said the "real heroes are those who live to fulfill their dreams and the biggest cowards are the ones who kill others' dreams".
This was Modi's second visit to Kashmir when he travelled to all three regions—Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh—in a single day, and comes barely months before the general elections in India.
His remarks over militancy came amid intensified anti-militancy operations by forces in Kashmir during the past few years, especially following the 2016 summer uprising triggered by the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani. Last year, more than 250 militants were killed across Kashmir while this figure was over 220 in 2017.
Modi assured that his government would follow former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's "dream" about J&K.
"We will not sit back. We will keep making efforts in realising his dream. We will take every person, in all three regions of the state, along with the motto of 'sabka saath, sabka vikaas'," the Prime Minister said.
Talking about the conduct of panchayat and municipal polls in J&K last year, Modi congratulated the people for their "participation in the electoral exercises".
"This determination towards democracy is a loud message to the people who are filled with hatred. In the midst of attempts by some people to spread negativity, and without caring about threats, the way you reached polling booths further resolves your determination for future of your children and for development of the state," Modi said.
The polls, held after a long gap, saw people participating in lesser numbers in Kashmir.
Modi said development of people of J&K was a "priority" of his government. "We will keep making efforts to realise the dream of prosperous and peaceful Kashmir," he said.
Modi also talked about surgical strikes, saying India has "shown to entire world its policy and tradition".
In his speech, Modi mentioned about return of migrant Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley.
He said the spirit of 'Kashmiriyat' demands that those Kashmiri Pandits who had to leave their property and land during violence in the region were brought back with honour.
"We are making attempts in this direction under Prime Minister's development package," Modi said.
He said the administration in the state, which is presently under president's rule, has starting construction of transit accommodation at Vessu in southern Kashmir and Singhpora in northern Kashmir.
Today, Modi said, he laid foundation of these facilities in Bandipora and Ganderbal, which are part of the Rs-80,000 crore PMDP.
At least 700 flats are to be constructed under the package for the migrant Pandits. "It will be our endeavor that whosoever wants to return are rehabilitated with full honour," said Modi.
Under the central package, Modi said the state administration has given clearance for filling up 3,000 posts for migrant Pandits in different departments.
"We are hopeful these posts will be filled soon," he said.
Modi congratulated the people for making J&K "open-defecation free" from September last year.
"J&K has also achieved nearly 100 percent electrification much before the deadline," he said, adding it was endeavour of his government that every drop of water that was wasted in the past in the state is now used for developing hydro power potential.
Earlier, Modi inaugurated or laid foundations, digitally, of around Rs 7,000 crore worth projects in J&K in different sectors like education, health and power.
These included transit accommodation for migrant employees in Ganderbal district with 192 flats and in Bandipora district with 480 flats, the 400 KV double circuit Jalandhar-Amargarh transmission line and a business process outsourcing (BPO) unit in Bandipora.
He dedicated to the people 220 KV Srinagar-Alusteng-Drass-Kargil-Leh transmission system and declared 100 percent electrification of households in J&K under SAUBHAGYA scheme and inaugurated a multipurpose indoor sports facility in Ganderbal district.
The Prime Minister had also digital interaction in Srinagar with students from different states and responded to questions of some students from different universities.
"My dream is that instead of our students going to other countries for higher studies, students from all over the world must come here to study," he responded to a question from a student from outside J&K.
Before winding up his day-long tour to J&K, the Prime Minister had a closed-door interaction with newly-elected panchs and sarpanchs at the SKICC.
There was complete shutdown in Kashmir on the call given by the Joint Resistance Leadership on Modi's visit, while authorities had suspended mobile internet facility.