PM Modi tweets: ‘Will spend Diwali in Kashmir’

Omar hails plan; PDP welcomes decision; Hurriyat (G) calls for shutdown

In a special gesture, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Kashmir on Diwali and spend time with flood-hit people.
He made the announcement himself on his twitter account. “Will be in Srinagar on Diwali, 23rd October & will spend the day with our sisters & brothers affected by the unfortunate flood,” Modi tweeted.
Kashmir was hit by unprecedented floods last month. Modi has already announced Rs 1000-crore for rehabilitation of the state and promised to do whatever else the government can.
Thousands of people rendered homeless by the deluge are pinning their hopes on Modi’s Diwali visit to the Valley, expecting him to announce a substantial package that can help them rebuild their homes before the onset of winter. “We are hopeful that the Prime Minister, who has decided to spend Diwali in Srinagar, will announce a good package for the flood victims so that we can start picking up the threads of life again,” Ghulam Ahmad, who is putting up with his family in a tent at Batamaloo said.
Ahmad is one of the over one lakh house owners in Jammu and Kashmir whose dwellings were destroyed by the century’s worst ever floods in the state.
This will be Modi’s fourth visit to Jammu and Kashmir since taking charge as the Prime Minister in May.
Many flood victims feel that Modi’s visit will not be just symbolic and the Prime Minister will announce a comprehensive plan so that the state and its people are able to rebuild the infrastructure destroyed by the floods.
“I do not think it will be only a symbolic visit. He will be spending the diwali in Kashmir and expectations are high that he will come with a big gift,” Mushtaq Ahmad, another flood victim, said.

Opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Tuesday termed as “good gesture” the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to spend Diwali with flood-affected people of Kashmir but said it would have been thoughtful of him to spend Eid in Srinagar.
“It is a good gesture,” Chief Spokesman of the PDP Naeem Akhtar said after the Prime Minister tweeted that he will spend Diwali “with our sisters & brothers affected by the unfortunate floods”.
Akhtar said the Prime Minister’s decision to be with flood victims on Diwali was encouraging.
“But it would have been very thoughtful if he had decided to be in Srinagar for Eid also which was observed immediately after floods,” he said.
Akhtar said an earlier visit to the flood-affected Kashmir by the Prime Minister could also have put some pace into the relief and rehabilitation process.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah appreciated the gesture of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to spend Diwali with people of the flood affected state.
“I appreciate the gesture of @narendramodi to mark Diwali by spending it with the flood affected people of J&K in Srinagar, the worst hit,” Omar wrote on micro-blogging site Twitter.
In an apparent reference to opposition PDP, the Chief Minister said those questioning the timing of Prime Minister’s visit on Diwali instead of Eid, would also be cursing the government due to restrictions necessitated by either strike called by the separatists or security arrangements made for such high profile visits. “The people asking why Diwali & why not Eid would’ve been the same people cursing because of the restrictions caused by hartal/security,” he said.
“Let’s just appreciate that @narendramodi is in Srinagar on his festival and not at home celebrating as he normally would have been doing,” he added.


The Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Geelani called for complete shutdown on October 23 (Thursday) to protest the arrival of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Kashmir and against “New Delhi’s apathy to provide adequate relief to the flood victims of Kashmir.”
“Instead of Eid, the Indian Prime Minister has selected Diwali to visit the state,” said a spokesman of the amalgam in a statement, terming it as “depiction of Modi’s communal mindset.” Terming as eye-opener the government of India’s announcement to provide relief to the people affected by Cyclone Hud Hud in Maharashtra within 24 hours and its ‘apathy’ to provide the same for the flood-hit people of Kashmir even after one and a half month, the Hurriyat spokesman said, “The rulers of India have nothing to do with the miseries and suffering of the people of Jammu & Kashmir. They only want land in Kashmir and can go to any extent to continue their forcible control on it. The floods in Kashmir have completed one and half month but the affected people are still waiting for adequate relief and aid.”
He said: “The winter season has set in and the homeless people will find it very tough to live in winter. If the aid and help would have come in time, as has been the case in Maharashtra, the homeless people of Kashmir would have reconstructed their homes.”
Meanwhile, continuing with its relief distribution among the flood-hit victims, the Central Relief Committee of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat Tuesday distributed different relief items among 150 affected families of Nayakpora Padshahi Bagh and Balgarden areas of Srinagar.

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