The prime minister was referring to a gunfight in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday morning, in which two militants were killed

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday asked if “his Jawan” should seek the Election Commission’s permission to handle terrorists standing with bombs and guns in front of him. He was addressing an election rally in Uttar Pradesh’s Kushinagar district.

Referring to a gunfight on Sunday morning in Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir, in which two militants were killed, Modi said: “But some people are complaining that why is Modi fighting militants when elections are under way. An armed terrorist is attacking, do my Jawans go to the Election Commission to seek permission to kill him?”

The sixth phase of the Lok Sabha elections is under way on Sunday.

Modi asked those gathered if they liked the fact that the Indian Army “was sneaking into the enemy’s territory and attacking them”. “It is because of this [actions against terrorists] that people are voting for the lotus symbol,” Modi said. “The nation is voting for the lotus to ensure that those who jail people chanting [Hindu deity] Ram’s name are punished.”

The prime minister said that ever since his government had taken over, “Routine Cleansing” was being done every second or third day in Kashmir and that “the cleansing is my job”.