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Congress criticises Narendra Modi’s approach on Kashmir

New delhi: Reacting to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s message to the youths of Jammu and Kashmir to choose between tourism and terrorism, the Congress on Monday said he needs to introspect whether Kashmir requires estrangement or engagement.

The Congress also accused the government of increasing a sense of alienation and estrangement among the people of Kashmir in the past one year. “While the PM is telling the people of the state they must choose between terrorism and tourism, he also needs to introspect whether Kashmir requires estrangement or engagement,” said Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari while briefing the media persons here.

“The fact remains in the past year or so, the BJP-PDP government in the state and the NDA government at the Centre have only increased estrangement and alienation of the people,” he added.

Asked about the “tourism or terrorism” remark of the Prime Minister, Tewari said: “It is a rhetorical no-brainer. It is not even an offer.” “It is the responsibility of the central and state governments to ensure that the feeling of estrangement and alienation is mitigated. A multi-party parliamentary delegation had gone to the valley last year at the height of violence. The Centre never followed up on that initiative,” he said.

“Under those circumstances, these rhetorical flourishes — to choose between terrorism and tourism and that the tunnel has been conceived as a developmental showcase for the people of POK — doesn’t get you anywhere.”

“That particular tunnel was conceived by the UPA government and the intent was to better connect the people of Jammu with the people of Kashmir,” said Tewari. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said the youths of the valley had to choose between tourism and terrorism to shape their future.

“I want to tell the youths of the valley, you have two paths which can decide your fate — on one hand, you have tourism and then there is terrorism,” Modi said. The Congress also said that the BJP was trying to divert attention from the issue of development by speaking the language of communalism.

“In 2014, BJP came to power promising development (“Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas”) and not under the banner of communalism. In the past few months, the manner in which we have seen the dominance of communalism, the primary reason behind this is that the government has failed completely in delivering on the agenda of development,” said Tewari.

“PM had promised the youths that they will create 10 lakh jobs every month. They have failed in that. So, in order to divert attention from developmental issues, they are trying to speak the language of communalism,” he added.
IANS