Indian PM Seeks Improved Welfare for Kashmiris amid Tension





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Indian Premier Narendra Modi Thursday stressed the need to work for the welfare of people in India-administered Kashmir, which remains under security lockdown days after his government stripped the region of its special constitutional autonomy.

In a speech that focused on Kashmir, to mark India’s Independence Day, Modi spoke about new initiatives of his government including building huge infrastructure projects projected to double the size of the Indian economy to 5 trillion dollars by 2025.

“The onus of fulfilling hopes and aspirations of people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh falls on us (Indians).

“We have to own up the responsibility of giving their dreams new wings. And for this, 1.3 billion Indians have to shoulder that responsibility,” Modi said in New Delhi’s Red Fort.

On Aug. 5, New Delhi revoked Article 370 of the Indian constitution, which granted the region autonomy except in matters of foreign affairs, defence and communications.

The move divided the erstwhile state into two federally-administered territories of Jammu and Kashmir as well as Ladakh.

Modi’s appeal came as domestic media reported that as many as 150,000 paramilitary troops and police were deployed in the Kashmir valley alone, where most inhabitants have been forced indoors for the 11th day.

Kashmiris have also been largely cut off from the outside world as phone and internet services have been suspended in a communication blackout.

India-administered Kashmir has been gripped by a violent secessionist movement led by separatist leaders and militant groups against New Delhi’s rule since the 1980s.

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