Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said that the country’s fight, in the aftermath of the attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama on February 14, was against terrorism and not against the people of Kashmir, ANI reported.

“Our fight is against terrorism and the enemies of humanity,” Modi said at a public rally in Tonk in Rajasthan. “Our fight is for Kashmir, not against Kashmir, not against Kashmiris.”

Reacting for the first time to the several incidents of violence reported against Kashmiri students, Modi said they should not have happened. “What happened to Kashmiri students in the last few days, such things should not happen in this country,” he said. After the Supreme Court had directed the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government and states to take steps to ensure the safety and security of people from Jammu and Kashmir, the Centre on Friday had issued an advisory to all states and Union Territories.

Modi said that the youth of Kashmir were also disturbed by terrorism, PTI reported. “They are with the people of the country,” he said, adding that the residents of the state had suffered from terrorism for the last 40 years and wanted peace.

Modi paid tributes to the 40 CRPF jawans killed in the Pulwama attack and said the world stood with the families of the slain soldiers. “Not just India, the entire world is with you [families],” he said. “Have faith in soldiers and the government.”

Modi said the world would not experience peace if terror factories are allowed to function. “Today, there is a consensus against terrorism,” he said, adding that stern action was taken against separatists in Jammu and Kashmir. “We are moving ahead with strength at every front.”

Over the past week, the state government has withdrawn the security cover of several separatist leaders, including Hurriyat Conference leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Shabir Shah, Hashim Qureshi, Bilal Lone and Abdul Ghani Bhat.

Omar Abdullah thanks PM Modi

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Saturday thanked Modi for breaking his silence over the attacks against Kashmiris and expressed hope that such incidents would not occur again. Abdullah has repeatedly questioned Modi’s silence on these attacks.

“Aaj aap ne hamaray dil ki baat keh di [you have conveyed the feelings of our heart],” Abdullah tweeted.

“It’s been a more than a week since the terrible attack in Pulwama and more than a week that Kashmiris have been bearing the brunt of the public anger,” said the National Conference leader in another tweet. “Perhaps, finally after PM sahab has spoken, these forces targeting Kashmiris will stop in their tracks.”

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