| Kalam in Udhampur on Thursday. (PTI)
Jammu, June 26: A.P.J. Abdul Kalam today said youngsters, especially in Jammu and Kashmir, yearned for a peaceful and prosperous India. The President was speaking at a Jammu University convocation on the first day of his three-day visit to the state.
Kalam said the children he had met here were very keen that peace and normality return to the state. He said the political leadership, armed forces and police should build a peaceful, prosperous and terrorism-free India.
The President added that the demands of the ever-increasing below-20 population could not be ignored.
Kalam later met children drawn from several schools during a half-an-hour interaction at Raj Bhavan here. He urged the more than 130 children to dream big, saying good times were returning to the state.
Earlier in the day, Kalam awarded the President’s colours to the state police at the Sher-e-Kashmir Police Academy in Udhampur.
The President said it was the responsibility of the government and all security forces to “bring back smiles” on the faces of children in the state.
He said people of the state were proud of being Indian but had had to endure hardships because of terrorism, which had led the government to step up efforts to restore peace.
The President praised the state police’s role in fighting militancy and asked them to use modern equipment to reduce casualties.
Kalam, on his first visit to the state since becoming President, went to the Vaishnodevi shrine where he mingled with pilgrims. The shrine attracts more than five million pilgrims every year. Jammu was an abode of peace and traced its origin back to the time when the lion and the goat would drink from the same river, he said.
On his visit to the Muthu migrant camp, Kalam said the state government and the Centre were working on a policy for the quick and “dignified” return of Pundits to the Valley. “You should not worry as you have been temporarily displaced. You will return to your homes in the Valley in a dignified manner soon,” Kalam said.