West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday tweeted a famous quote by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee about his Kashmir policy in a tribute on his first death anniversary. Some political leaders have said that the manner in which the region’s special status was withdrawn by the Centre last week is a departure from that policy.
“Tribute to Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji, former Prime Minister, on his first death anniversary,” she tweeted. “Let us recall his words: ‘The gun can solve no problems. Issues can be guided by the three principles of insaniyat, jamhooriyat and Kashmiriyat’.”
Vajpayee was prime minister briefly in 1996 and then from 1998 to 2004. Speaking in Parliament after a visit to Jammu and Kashmir in April 2003, Vajpayee had said that he had assured the people of the state that the gun could not solve any problem, only brotherhood could. He had laid out the three principles – “insaniyat [humanism], jamhooriyat [democracy] and Kashmiriyat [Kashmir’s legacy of Hindu-Muslim amity]”.
Vajpayee died on August 16, 2018 after a long illness. The government had conferred the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour, on him in 2015.
Earlier on Friday, President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah visited Sadaiv Atal, Vajpayee’s memorial, to pay tributes. Modi tweeted: “[Vajpayee’s] thoughts and words live on. We will always cherish his contribution to India’s development.”
Shah said: “Atal is not a person but an ideology. Atal is not a life but part of culture. Tributes to Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who began the era of development and good governance in India with a a politics based on values and ideals.”