Srinagar: Moderate Hurriyat Conference on Monday said the people of Kashmir are neither against tourism nor supporters of terrorism but are fighting for an "honourable solution" to the Kashmir issue.
The statement by the separatist group headed by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq came in response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's remarks on Sunday, asking the misguided youth of Kashmir to choose tourism over terrorism for the state's welfare.
"Kashmiris are neither against tourism nor supporters of terrorism. They are also not against development and progress but are seeking an honourable solution to the longstanding Kashmir issue," said the Hurriyat which had called a strike on Sunday to protest against the Prime Minister's visit to the state.
Modi, while inaugurating a tunnel between Kashmir and Jammu on Sunday, had said that "40 years of bloodshed" had not benefitted anyone.
The separatist amalgam said Kashmiris have always welcomed tourists even in the most trying circumstances. "Any articulation cannot change the basic reality of Kashmir being a political issue that needed a political resolution," the Hurriyat said.
"Besides focusing on tunnels and roads, the Prime Minister should focus on the resolution of the basic issue of Kashmir and start a meaningful dialogue process so as to find a just and agreeable solution of the issue in order to end the human tragedy in Jammu and Kashmir," it added.
Hardline Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani reacted sharply to the Prime Minister's remarks, saying these lacked "reasoning" and were "highly painful".
He said, "Distorting facts will not help or change the basic concept of Kashmir issue."
The Hurriyat leader also took a dig at Modi for invoking 'Kashmiriyat, Jamhooriyat and Insaniyat' and said the slogan has "lost its sheen as it is nothing but words aimed at misleading the international community"....