New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said there was a pan-India fury after the Uri terror attack in which 18 soldiers were killed, but urged the people to exercise restraint and channelise their energies in a constructive way to help the country progress.
Opening his monthly radio broadcast “Mann ki Baat” with condemnation against the “cowardly” cross-border terror strike, Modi vowed that its perpetrators would not be spared.
He, however, refrained from naming Pakistan even as the government has unambiguously said the four attackers who struck at the army base in Jammu and Kashmir on September 18 had come from across the Line of Control (LoC) — the de facto border that divides the state between the two countries.
“Recently, we lost 18 bravehearts in a terror attack in Uri. I salute and pay my tributes to these martyrs,” the Prime Minister said.
“This cowardly act was enough to shake the nation. There is sorrow and deep resentment in the country. This is a loss not only for those who lost their sons, brothers and husbands. It is a loss for the entire nation. And that is why I reiterate today what I had said on the day of the attack: The culprits will be punished for sure,” he said.
Modi expressed his confidence in the armed forces capability in battling terrorism.
“We have full confidence in the Indian Army and are proud of them. We, the politicians, have many occasions to speak and we do speak. But the army doesn’t speak. They speak through their bravery,” the Prime Minister said.
The Uri assault has plunged the already frosty India-Pakistan ties to a new low amid apprehensions that it may even trigger an armed conflict between the two nuclear-powered neighbours.
Islamabad has denied the allegation that the attack originated from its soil even as New Delhi says it has incriminating evidence to prove that the four attackers, who were killed in the Uri gunfight, belonged to the Jaish-e-Mohammed and had come from Pakistan.
In his address, Modi avoided taking on Pakistan and rather chose to calm the tempers and urged the countrymen to channelise the anger into a constructive nation-building approach.
“This anger is valuable. During the 1965 (India-Pakistan) war, Indians had similar sentiments, similar anger. At that time, (the then Prime Minister) Lal Bahadur Shastri gave a message to channelise this energy towards nation-building through his ‘Jai Jawan-Jai Kisan’ slogan.”
The Prime Minister mentioned about a Class 11 student named Harshvardhan who, disturbed by the attack, had written to him saying that he wanted to do something for the country.
The young man took a “resolve that he would study for three extra hours daily, be a good citizen and serve the nation”.
“This is another way for every citizen to show love for the country amidst the din of bombs and bullets. This was shown by Shastriji, just as Mahatma Gandhi did during the freedom struggle.”
The “healthy” and “constructive” thinking of this young man, Modi said, was inspiring for all to take the “nation to new heights”.
Modi also referred to hardships faced by the Kashmiri people because of an ongoing unrest that has disrupted the normal life in the valley for over two-and-a-half months.
Schools, colleges, offices and other businesses have remained closed due to the turmoil and there are no signs of a respite from daily protests and shutdowns called by Kashmiri separatists. At least 90 people have been killed in the violence after the July 8 killing of a militant commander.
“Every (Kashmiri) parent wants schools and colleges to open as soon as possible. Farmers also want that their produce, ripened fruits etc, should reach the markets of entire India. Economic activities should become normal. For the past few days, trade activities have begun to function normally.”
He said he was hopeful that a “solution to every problem (in Kashmir) can be found”.
“We will find the ways. We will together find the greatest path for the future generations of Kashmir,” he said, assuring the people of Kashmir that their security was the “responsibility of the administration”.