Narendra Modi, who is on a day’s visit to Jammu and Kashmir said that the urge for progress, despite hardships, shown by people of Ladakh should be followed by those living in Jammu and Kashmir regions.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of centenary birth celebrations of the Buddhist spiritual leader, Kashuk Bakula , Modi said: “Despite hardships and inaccessibility, Ladakhis have set up an example in endeavouring hardships and yet continuing their march of progress and development. This example will have to be followed by the people of the valley and the Jammu region.”
He said Ladakh was a far cry from its past when it was known just for three things “totu” (pony) “sottu” (powdered corn) and “patu” (local tweed).
“Your self-confidence has taken Ladakh to great heights from those days of backwardness. I am told today that the entrepreneurship of the women of Ladakh is an example for the rest of the country.
“With a population of just a lakh and a quarter, the people of Ladakh host two lakh tourists each year.”
The Prime Minister started his speech in Ladakhi language as the gathering exploded with applause.
“The region is not new to me. I have come here many times. When I worked for the party and visited Ladakh, my friends would ask me to bring some vegetables for them from Ladakh for the taste and purity of the local produce.
He said Ladakh was an example of “great legacy of brotherhood and peace” and connecting people of the country with each other was Kushak Bakula’s special attribute also known in far off Mangolia.
Earlier, Modi kick started work for Zojila tunnel, Asia’s longest and strategic bi-directional tunnel, to provide all-weather connectivity between Srinagar, Kargil and Leh.
However, on his visit, Srinagar was turned into a garrison and the commercial hub Lal Chowk was sealed to prevent a peaceful protest called by the Joint Resistance Leadership.
However, Both Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq were put under house arrest in order to prevent them from leading protests. JKLF chief Mohammad Yasin Malik continues to remain under custody.
Mirwaiz, in a bid to move towards Lal Chowk, tried to defy his house arrest and was detained by a contingent of police deployed outside his Nigeen residence.
Moreover the government forces sealed Lal Chowk in order to prevent people from protesting peacefully on call of the JRL. Barricades manned by contingents of police and paramilitary personnel were placed along all the roads, including lanes and by lanes, to thwart the proposed march.
On Friday, dueing his sermon, Mirwaiz had said that the proposed rally of the Joint Resistance Leadership must be allowed so that Modi can hear the ‘Man ki baat’ of the people of Kashmir.