Independence Day as it happened: PM Modi's strong message for Pakistan, but no words on Kashmir

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Independence Day as it happened: PM Modi's strong message for Pakistan, but no words on Kashmir
  • 14:07 (IST)

    Modi's I-Day speech longest in history of all Independence Day speeches?

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech is being touted as the longest Independence Day speech in history. Modi broke his own record from last year, The Times of India reported, when he made a speech that in turn reportedly broke a record held by former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

  • 14:03 (IST)

    India celebrates the 70th Independence Day at Red Fort in New Delhi. Check out the photos here

  • 14:00 (IST)

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Red Fort on Monday after his speech. 

  • 13:47 (IST)

    Mehbooba says gun no solution, blames successive central govts

    The Chief Minister said she too had a grievance at the way Kashmir issue has been handled over the years.

    "I also have grievances. People of Jammu and Kashmir joined with such a big country, not considering the religion, and preferred a democracy. Why has our democracy remained confined to casting votes? The biggest part of democracy is dialogue. We have resolved so many issues but why have we failed to take forward the dialogue process here? Where have made a mistake? Why did it take till 2002 for the (fair) election system to reach Kashmir? Why did our system and leadership here and in Delhi in 1987 elections usurp the rights of those people (now separatists) who could have become MLAs, Ministers or Chief Minister? They wanted to take oath of Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir along with the Constitution of the country. There is no fault of people of Jammu and Kashmir in it," she said.

    Mehbooba said the separatists were then looking for alternatives to National Conference and Congress but "it was not allowed to happen by the leaders here and there (Delhi)".

  • 13:44 (IST)

    Guns will not solve any problem: Mehbooba

    Speaking against the backdrop of over month-long unrest in the valley triggered by the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, she questioned people who have been indulging in violence as she underlined that any remedy could be found through dialogue in a great democracy like India.

    Emphasising that any propaganda like attempts to erode the special status of Jammu and Kashmir is false, she urged the people to give her time so that she could work on the plans and programmes she had charted for peace and progress of the state.

    "Gun will not solve the problm. Guns has not solved any issue," Mehbooba said, adding there is no way other than the dialogue to resolve problems and address grievances. People of Jammu and Kashmir are not bad, nor is India bad. Somewhere mistakes were made with regard to elections. The leadership of the country -- from Jawahar Lal Nehru till date -- and the parties, it is their mistake," she said.

  • 13:43 (IST)

    Narendra Modi should finish Vajpayee's peace process with Pakistan: Mehbooba Mufti

    Asserting that gun will not solve any problem, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti hoped Prime Minister Narendra Modi will complete the process started by Atal Bihari Vajpayee to address the state's problems which she attributed to the "mistakes" by successive central governments, starting from Jawaharlal Nehru.

    In her maiden Independence Day address as Chief Minister, Mehbooba made an emotional appeal to the youth indulging in violence, telling them not to be misled by the "vested interests" who want to keep Kashmir burning, and prevent the beautiful valley from turning into another Syria or Afghanistan.

  • 13:42 (IST)

    Senior party leaders including former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, A K Antony, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma were present on the occasion.

    Rahul said the generation which earned us the hard earned freedom is no longer with us but the Constitution is their precious gift.

    "It embodies the values, principles and ideals for which they fought, values they hoped would guide our brave young country. Now it is up to us."

    Rahul's remarks come against the backdrop of attacks on Dalits as also on Muslims by cow vigilantes in the recent past. 

  • 12:11 (IST)

    When forces of darkness threaten this liberty for some of us, we must remember that freedom can never be for the few: Rahul Gandhi

    Against the backdrop of recent attacks on Dalits, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi today said freedom can never be for the few and asked Indians to aspire for a country where ideas are not "crushed violently" by the forces of hate and mediocrity.

    "When the forces of darkness threaten this liberty for some of us, as we saw in recent times, we must remember that freedom can never be for the few — it has to be for everyone. Every human being in India has the right to dignity and the freedom to live and express themselves freely," he said in a message on Independence Day.

    Gandhi said Indians are honour-bound to aspire to a country where nobody lives in fear and "where ideas flow freely and are not crushed violently by the forces of hate and mediocrity. We must insist and fight for this truth, at all times."

    Rahul hoisted the national flag at the party headquarters here for the first time since he took over as the Congress vice-president three years ago.

  • 11:58 (IST)

    Now, check out Arun Jaitley and Manohar Parrikar

  • 11:58 (IST)

    First, see Kejriwal napping: 

  • 11:53 (IST)

    Interestingly, before Kejriwal's photo surfaced online, senior AAP leader Ashutosh tweeted out saying: 

  • 11:51 (IST)

    Was Kejriwal really napping?

    We weren't sure of this at first, but the buzz on Twitter says otherwise. Social media on Monday was debating whether Kejriwal was taking a nap or was resting his eyes while PM Narendra Modi was addressing the nation on 70th Independence Day from Red Fort.

    Twitterati was quick to remember that the Delhi CM had recently returned after completing a 10-day vipassana course and claimed that he was feeling fresh and energetic. ABP News tweeted out a question, "Was @ArvindKejriwal taking a nap or resting his eyes while PM was addressing the nation on #IndependenceDayIndia?" to which the Twitterati was quick to respond: 

  • 11:39 (IST)

    President Pranab Mukherjee pays tribute at Amar Jawan Jyoti

  • 11:38 (IST)

    I think I have reached the peak of my career, so I don't hesitate in saying what I feel, says Chief Justice of India T S Thakur after criticising PM Narendra Modi for not bringing up judges' appointment in his Independence Day speech.

  • 11:25 (IST)

    Hours after his speech at the Red Fort, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, tweeted out photos from the celebrations

  • 11:23 (IST)

    India won't tolerate terrorism, path of violence won't help anyone: Modi

    Amid continued violence in Jammu and Kashmir, northeast and Naxalism-hit areas, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged the youth, who have taken up arms, to return to their families and join the mainstream, saying the path of violence has never benefited anyone.

    The Prime Minister, in his Independence Day speech from the Red Fort, said a "game is being played to kill innocents under the garb of Maoism, and in the name of militancy and terror". He said that in all these years, "the motherland has become more red with blood, but those who walked the path of terrorism gained nothing".

    "I want to tell those youths that this country will never tolerate violence. This country will not tolerate terrorism. This country will never bow its head before terrorism, never before Maoists. I am telling those youths that there is still time, come back and join the mainstream. Realise your parents' aspirations. Lead a peaceful life. The path of violence has never benefited anyone," he said.

    "If Indian democracy has to be strengthened, if the country's dreams are to be fulfilled, then violence will never be our path," Modi said.

  • 11:18 (IST)

    Govt has not allowed inflation to cross 6 percent: PM

    Backing a new inflation target, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said his government has not allowed the rate of price rise to cross 6 per cent as opposed to the double digit inflation during previous government.

    Delivering his third Independence Day address from the ramparts of Red Fort, Modi backed the 4 per cent inflation target, within a range of 2 percentage points either way, set for the next five years under the monetary policy framework agreement with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

    "It is true that during the time of previous government, inflation rate had crossed 10 per cent. Our continuous efforts have ensured that inflation rate does not rise above 6 per cent," he said.

    He attributed the spike in vegetable prices to two consecutive droughts that impacted supplies but said efforts have been made to contain it.

    "I will continue to make efforts to ensure that the food plate of poor is not affected (by inflation)," he said.

    On the spike in prices of pulses this year, he said sowing of pulses this year has risen by 1.5 times and with good monsoon and efforts like Minimum Support Price and bonus to farmers as well as increasing availability will make things better.

    While monsoon has been good this year, excess rainfall has caused problems at some places, he said, adding the government was fully committed to helping such states.

    Modi said unlike past governments, he has stayed away from populist measures and instead relied on empowerment.

    The Prime Minister said efforts by his government have led to 99.5 percent of past dues of sugarcane farmers in Uttar Pradesh being cleared and 95 percent of crop being sold this season being already paid for.

    Also, record urea production has meant that black-marketing of the crop nutrient is a thing of past, he said, adding that farmers are being given crop insurance cover on minimum premium.

    Godown capacity of 15 lakh tonnes has been constructed to store crops and emphasis is being laid on all food processing and agro based industries to raise farm incomes.

    Hundred percent FDI has been permitted in food processing. "These steps will help realise the target of doubling farmers' income by 2022," he said.

  • 11:14 (IST)

    Disappointed with Modi's Independence Day speech: CJI

    The Chief Justice of India TS Thakur on Monday said he was hoping there would be a mention on appointment of judges in his Independence Day speech.

  • 11:03 (IST)

    'No word for suffering Kashmir?'

    Senior journalist Sagarika Ghose criticised PM Modi for not speaking about the suffering Kashmiris. Narendra Modi on Monday mentioned the Gilgit-Baltistan region and Balochistan, while thanking their people.

  • 11:00 (IST)

    On Independence Day, Narendra Modi pokes Pakistan with Baloch, Gilgit, PoK

    Abhijnan Rej, a fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi and a national security columnist for Firstpost, assesses the shift in India's Pakistan policy and use of the Balochistan card.

    The contours of this strategy will be drawn using diplomatic as well as intelligence assets. It will range from being vocal about Pakistan's excesses in that region, to creating sub-conventional space in order to deter Pakistan's nefarious Kashmir policy. But it is exceedingly important that this strategy be sensitive to the region's geopolitics. Principally, there are two other states India will have to deftly handle when it comes to using Balochistan to pay Pakistan using its own coin: China and Iran. Each of these states have a convoluted relationship with both India and Pakistan, and how they are handled will largely determine the success or failure of India's Balochistan strategy.

    Read the full article here

  • 10:50 (IST)

    Mehbooba Mufti addresses Jammu and Kashmir on Independence Day

    "The situation in Jammu and Kashmir is because of problems in nation's leadership. Encounter have taken place in past and will continue to take place. But I don't understand what was my government's fault? Who is responsible for this? What can I do when despite having IIMs, IITs students, who have to study, have gone blind."

  • 10:48 (IST)

    While Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he will revive Air India, debt is Rs 38,000 crore - 5 times the amount Vijay Mallya owes Indian banks. Reports IndiaSpend.

  • 10:46 (IST)

    Senior editor of Firstpost, Dinesh Unnikrishnan writes: 

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech, on the eve of country’s 70th Independence Day, had all the designs of a smart CEO offering a presentation to his shareholders about the progress made in his term so far and where he intends to take his company (read economy here) from this point.

    The larger thrust of PM’s speech was price rise and empowerment of poor-- crucial ahead of the state-polls next year.  The PM devoted much time to explain what his government has done to control the dal prices and stressed why kisaan needs to be empowered. 

    Modi’s focus on price rise is well understood since this will emerge as one of the key political issues going ahead especially given the crucial state-polls next year in Uttar Pradesh.

  • 10:37 (IST)

    Four explosions hit Assam, no casualties reported

    Suspected ULFA-Independent militants exploded four bombs in various parts of Assam's Tinsukia district as the state celebrated the 70th Independence Day.

    There was no casualty or injury in any of the explosions.

    An improvised explosive devise (IED) exploded near Indira Gandhi School at Laipuli on the outskirts of district headquarters of Tinsukia town at 7.15 am, the police said. - PTI

  • 10:26 (IST)

    What was started by Atal Bihari Vajpayee will be completed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi: Mehbooba Mufti

    "The mistakes have been made by all the political parties and leadership of the nation - starting from Jawaharlal Nehru."

    Watch the speech here: 

  • 10:23 (IST)

    Modi stays mum on Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti says guns aren't the answer 

    In a 90-minute address to the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made no reference to the situation in Kashmir valley which has been rocked by violence after the killing of Hizbul Commander Burhan Wani, but accused Pakistan of glorifying terrorists and celebrating killings in India. This was an obvious reference to Wani who has been hailed as a martyr by Pakistan, which was not directly named by him.

    While addressing the Valley, Mehbooba said that guns cannot get us justice. "Kashmiris do not weild guns, we do not resort to violence."

  • 10:20 (IST)

    Jammu and Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti addresses the Valley on Independence Day

  • 10:18 (IST)

    Firstpost columnist Rajeev Srinivasan on India’s Pakistan policy shift: The Indian government seems to have realised that being Mr Nice Guy is not earning it any medals, and that maybe it’s time to turn the plate around and try something slightly more robust.

    Read the full article here

  • 10:17 (IST)

    Back Baloch, reclaim PoK: Modi moves to fix India's biggest geopolitical failure

    In his 90-minute speech at the Red Fort, Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanked the people of the Gilgit-Baltistan region, Balochistan and PoK. Senior editor of Firstpost Sreemoy Talukdar, in this piece, analyses the importance of these regions for India and how the PM is moving to fix the biggest geopolitical failure. Here's an excerpt:

    For decades since Independence, India has historically and inexplicably let Pakistan run away with the Kashmir narrative. Pakistan has forced three battles on us over the Valley and lost each of those. But Islamabad still managed a permanent seat on the high horse of morality. It got to set the terms despite being the vanquished. And as victors, all that successive Indian governments could do was to adopt a defensive posture. While we have always tended to ignore, even play down our legal claim over the part of Kashmir (the so-called Northern Areas now known as Gilgit Baltistan) occupied by Pakistan, our neighbours have never failed to claim its writ on the area on our side of Line of Control through diplomatic, overt and even covert means.

    Read the full article here

  • 10:08 (IST)

    Post his Independence Day speech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets with children who performed at the Red Fort

  • 10:07 (IST)

    Rahul Gandhi at the AICC headquarters

  • 09:58 (IST)

    Reality Check

    IndiaSpend did a Fact Check of PM Narendra Modi's speech on Independence Day at the Red Fort. And here's the analysis. 

  • 09:27 (IST)

    It was an election speech: Salman Khurshid

    Senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid was one of the first reactions once PM Narendra Modi's speech at Red Fort concluded. "Deeply dissapointed by PM's speech today, he gave an election speech, must rise above party politics."

  • 09:18 (IST)

    PM Modi steers clear of controversial topics like cow politics and atrocities against Dalits. Narendra Modi, in a veiled attack, mentioned Pakistan and said that India is a nation which cried when little children were killed in Peshawar, "However, there are nations who glorify terrorism. India will not tolerate violence, neither will it tolerate terrorism."

    Narendra Modi's speech, which was nearly 90-minute long, stuck to the developmental achievements of the BJP government at the Centre. 

  • 09:10 (IST)

  • 09:08 (IST)

    PM Narendra Modi concludes his speech: Bharat Mata ki Jai

  • 09:05 (IST)

    Meanwhile, critics of the BJP government are closely listening to Prime Minister Modi's speech as well

  • 09:04 (IST)

  • 09:03 (IST)

    "When kids died in Peshawar, Indian children cried and were traumetised. However, there are nations who valourise terrorists and the act of terror. It is a short-lived route."

  • 09:02 (IST)

    PM Modi thanks the people of Gilgit-Baltistan region, Balochistan and the people of Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir

  • 09:00 (IST)

  • 08:58 (IST)

    No space for violence and intolerance in india

    "Unity is the key to progress. All those who are killing innocents across border and amid mountains, I want to tell them that this country will not tolerate terrorism and militancy. Come back. The road of militancy/terrorism does not help anyone. Come back to your parents."

  • 08:53 (IST)

  • 08:52 (IST)

    Hum taalne walon mein se nahi, takrane walon mein se hain

  • 08:52 (IST)

    "We are doing everything possible to increase employment in the nation. Why should a small grocery store not be open 24 hours? Why shouldn't the women of the nation work at nights if they want to? The government will make all arrangements that if people want to work, they will be allowed to work."

  • 08:50 (IST)

    "We have taken many initiatives to fulfill ambitions of the youth of the nation. Skill development should be the priority."

  • 08:48 (IST)

  • 08:42 (IST)

    "GST will give strength to our economy and all parties are to be thanked for its passage. Railways and post-offices remind me of the nation's unity. Farmers can sell their produce anywhere across the nation online. It is a free market, bhaiyon aur behnon."

  • 08:39 (IST)

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi on women and education

    "Women need to be economically empowered. Even if one woman in the family is educated, the family's economical problems will vanish in a jiffy"

  • 08:31 (IST)

A hawk-eye vigil is being kept across Delhi as Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the nation from 17th century Red Fort on the 70th Independence Day while tight security remained in force in violence-hit Kashmir Valley as a precautionary measure.

Thousands of security personnel have been deployed in and around the historic Mughal fort which will see the presence of senior ministers, top bureaucrats and foreign dignitaries, besides a large audience to hear the Prime Minister.

A multi-layer security has also been thrown around Rajpath where a seven-day-long cultural festival 'Bharat Parv' is underway. The step has been taken as people have been flocking to the area to witness the illumination of North Block, South Block and other government buildings after sunset in the run up to August 15.

Strict security measures were in force in curfew-bound Srinagar ahead of the Independence Day celebrations with large contingents of paramilitary and police personnnel being deployed across the city.

Bakhshi Stadium — the main venue of the Independence Day function in Jammu and Kashmir — has been turned into a virtual fortress. "All the roads leading to Bakhshi Stadium have been sealed and heavy deployment of security forces carried out en route to ensure peaceful celebrations tomorrow," a police official said.

Preparations on for Independence Day celebrations in Ahmedabad. PTI

Preparations on for Independence Day celebrations in Ahmedabad. PTI

He said there were no inputs about the possibility of militant attacks to disrupt the celebrations but the security grid is not taking any chances. "The usual security drill is being followed but some extra measures have been put in place to ensure no mob violence takes place around the venues in Srinagar or elsewhere in the Valley," the official said.

Due to the ongoing unrest -- that began on July 9 following killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, mobile telephony and internet services have already been snapped in the Valley.

In the past, the mobile phone and mobile internet services used to be disabled for few hours during Independence Day and Republic Day celebrations as a precautionary measure to prevent militants from using these devices to trigger explosions.

Curfew was extended to several places in Kashmir in view of the separatists' call for a march to the heart of Srinagar even as restrictions on the movement of people remained in rest of the Valley.

Despite curfew, separatists elements managed to hoist Pakistan flags in many localities across Kashmir to mark the Independence Day of the neighbouring country, the official said, adding security forces pulled down the flags as soon as they were noticed.

56 people, including two policemen, have been killed and several thousand others have been injured in the clashes in the Valley that began on July 9.

In Delhi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh reviewed the security situation in the country, particularly in J-K, on the eve of Independence Day.

The top brass of the security establishment briefed him on the prevailing situation in the country and the steps taken to foil any attempt by terrorists and other elements to disturb peace, official sources said.

Army and NSG officials have set up a special communication and command centre to keep a close watch on the proceedings at Red Fort.

Special measures are being taken to meet "on-the-spot situations" such as the Prime Minister choosing to meet people at the venue as he has done earlier, officials said.

CCTV cameras have been installed along the route to be taken by the PM's cavalcade from 7 RCR to Red Fort, besides 200 CCTVs and two high-mast, high-resolution cameras at the fort premises.

Security has also been beefed up and police patrolling intensified in North East, Punjab, especially the border districts, Haryana and other parts of the country in the view of the celebrations with bomb disposal squads being deployed at the main function venues.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Aug 15, 2016 14:07:27 IST

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