Separatists reject Modi's development plank for J&K

Jammu and Kashmir separatists on Friday rejected the developmental plank of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to win the hearts of the people, saying Kashmir was not an economic issue but a "political problem" requiring a political solution for peace in the sub-continent. The lingering Kashmir issue is a grave threat to the entire region. This issue is neither an issue of economic concessions nor connected to steps like train service," moderate Hurriyat Chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq said here in the northern Indian state.

The Mirwaiz said the reality is that peace, prosperity and development of the entire region is linked to the resolution of the Kashmir issue. "Unless the issue is addressed in its historical perspective and in accordance with the political realities, there is no possibility of restoration of everlasting peace and ending uncertainty," he said.

His remarks came in the wake of Modi saying, "Our priority is to win the hearts of every citizen of this state through development." The Prime Minister was addressing a gathering after inaugurating the Katra rail line project in Jammu. The Mirwaiz urged the Centre to shun traditional approach on Kashmir and adopt a policy that reflects ground realities. He said a "meaningful dialogue" was the only way forward to address the issue.

Criticising the clampdown on separatist leadership and imposition of restrictions in the city for Modi's visit coinciding with the first Friday of the holy month of Ramzan, he said "arm-twisting tactics are bound to complicate the situation". Meanwhile, hardline Hurriyat Conference Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani said Delhi "cannot win" the hearts of the people of Kashmir through development.
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