Editorial: New hopes

Weeks after abrogation of Article 370 and dividing Jammu & Kashmir into two Union Territories, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made a key promise- a new Kashmir will be built. Modi, who had a “special interaction” with a 17-member delegation of Kashmiri Pandits in Houston, assured them of “building a new Kashmir” which would be for everyone. The delegation, which included Kashmiri Pandits from across the US, met Modi on his arrival in Houston as part as part of his week-long visit to the US. “Kashmir mein naee hava bah rahee hai (New winds are blowing in Kashmir) and we will all build a new Kashmir together that will be for everyone,” he told the delegation. The Indian government on 5 August revoked the special status given to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated it into two union territories.

Modi also thanked the community for their patience for over 30 years. “I had a special interaction with Kashmiri Pandits in Houston,” the Prime Minister later tweeted. Earlier, MEA Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted that the Kashmiri Pandits expressed support for the steps taken by the Indian government for the progress of India. “In Houston, a delegation of the Kashmiri Pandit community met the Prime Minister. They unequivocally supported the steps being taken for the progress of India and empowerment of every Indian,” he tweeted.
The delegation thanked the Prime Minister for the move and said that their 700,000 community members were “indebted” to his government.

The delegation also presented a memorandum to Modi, requesting him to set up a task force under the Indian Home Ministry to bring the community together, develop the region and repatriate Kashmiri Pandits. “Modi Ji brought smiles to the faces of our Kashmiri Pandit delegation, by promising a new Kashmir that we will build together, for everyone,” Rajiv Pandit, who was part of the delegation, said. He recited a religious verse (shlok) for Modi and the Indian leader joined him by reciting its last line. Surinder Kaul, who led the delegation, said, “the Prime Minister told us you have suffered a lot and together we have to build a new Kashmir.” Lalit Kaul, from Boston, said, “It was gracious of Prime Minister Modi to meet us and acknowledge that our community has suffered a lot! His assurance that he is on the job and things will improve gave all of us a renewed hope.” A lot is being expected from Modi and his government on Kashmir issue. The PM’s assurance has instilled new hope and more positive actions are expected from the Centre.

NT Bureau