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Kashmiris to Modi: “India cannot buy us with money”

Barbed wire. Arrests. Security crackdown. Curfew. These were some of the conditions in the Indian-administered Kashmiri capital of Srinagar ahead of a visit by Indian prime minister Narendra Modi.  He may have announced a mammoth 80 billion rupee development package during his address at Srinagar’s Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium, but for the millions who spent Saturday locked in their homes due to the security lock-down in the city, Modi’s plans are of little consolation. If they thought Modi would address the six-decade-long dispute, they were thoroughly disappointed.  RIFAT MOHIDIN spoke to a some Kashmiris about the PM’s visit and what it meant to them.

Gowhar Ahmad, 26, management professional
We perceive Indian rule in Kashmir as military rule. These packages are all to give a civilian face to Indian rule in Kashmir. Modi’s speech today offered nothing political for Kashmiris; he knows what people want here. To prolong this rule, India, with their supporting political parties are feeding this false agenda of development to Kashmiris while Kashmiris will settle for nothing less than the fulfillment of their aspirations.

Abdul Aziz, 55, street vendor
I am very disappointed after Modi’s speech; Kashmir is not a monetary problem. We are not dying for jobs or money. This is a political problem and he did not talk about the political solution of the issue. People here are not concerned about jobs and economics, they want a solution to the long pending problem between India and Pakistan, so that peace returns to this region and people can live with dignity. The political parties do not seem interested in looking at the root of the problem.

modi in kashmir
Irfan Rashid, 25, journalist
You can’t buy Kashmir for 80 thousand crores. This money is our own that India has been taking as tax from us and from our power projects. Kashmir is a political problem. It needs a political solution and not an economic one.

Insha Farid, 24, student
This is good that the economic package has been announced, but then again the larger issue has been overshadowed; there are problems in Kashmir that are beyond the economic and employment. Even today when the prime minister had to address Kashmir, people were caged under curfew, what does that signify? This shows there is a problem which is being buried every time.

Junaid Rather, 26, student
The prime minister’s visit to Srinagar should be an eye opener for the central government how they managed the crowd in the stadium where he addressed. As far as Modi’s package is concerned, one needs to understand that the main issue is that Kashmir is a political dispute and it needs to be solved.  Money can never justify the sacrifices of thousands of people who have died in Kashmir in last two decades. India cannot buy Kashmiris with money.

Featured Image: Amin War

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