New Delhi : The tense situation in Kashmir which has claimed at least 50 lives and left thousands injured did not figure in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s periodic radio broadcast to the nation “’Mann Ki Baat’. He did cover the entire gamut of issues like the on-going flood situation, the Indian participation in the Rio Olympics, upcoming Independence Day celebrations, his recent visit to South Africa and passage of a bill by Parliament that will unlock over Rs 40,000 crore to states for afforestation.
This omission drew a reaction from former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah who said: “How I wish my Prime Minister had found a few reassuring words for my state which has seen almost 50 deaths and countless injured in his Mann ki Baat.” The poor visibility of politicians during the period of sustained violence and street clashes between the protesters and security forces has been a subject of much criticism.
Abdullah even attacked chief minister Mehbooba Mufti for not taking any responsibility for the situation in the Valley where 50 persons have been killed and over 5,600 injured in clashes after the militant Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter with the security forces on July 8. Parts of the state are still under curfew. Abdullah said: “The trouble I have with her brand of leadership is that it’s never her fault, it’s always others who are to blame.” In his 35-minute radio talk, prime minister Modi spoke about the need to curb deaths during child delivery and said government hospitals will offer free check-up on 9th of every month which poor pregnant women should avail of. He urged gynecologists’, who do not work in government hospitals, to devote one day for this purpose, saying lakhs of such doctors are required
Talking about the floods that have hit some parts of the country, Modi said, “sometime back, we were concerned about drought but now we are enjoying the rains and there are reports about floods. The state governments and the Centre are working closely, making all efforts to help the flood-affected people.”
Exhorting youth to go for research to find technological solutions to such problems, Modi referred to the ‘Atal Innovation Mission’ (AIM) through which the government intends to create an ecosystem of innovation, experiment and entrepreneurship and generate jobs.