SRINAGAR/ ISLAMABAD: In a missive to the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) or Doctors Without Borders on Friday, Pakistan raised alarm over a worsening medical emergency in Indian Kashmir as fresh protests in the valley left at least two protesters dead and more than 100 injured.
A Foreign Office statement issued on Friday said the PM’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz has written a letter to the MSF president, highlighting the “state of medical emergency” in the disputed territory due to “atrocious Indian brutalities” against “unarmed and defenceless civilians”.
US voices concern over Kashmir violence
The adviser requested the organisation to immediately provide medical assistance to thousands of injured Kashmiris. He also underscored the need for eye surgeons to immediately tend to the wounded.
Hundreds of Kashmiri protesters are suffering from severe eye injuries caused mainly by the use of pellet guns by Indian troops. Meanwhile, Friday’s violence by Indian forces took the death toll from nearly a month of unrest to 54, a police officer said.
Thousands of residents clashed with government forces, defying a curfew authorities extended to large parts of the IOK, including the main city of Srinagar, for the 28th straight day.
Government forces fired bullets, tear gas shells and pellets from shotguns to break up demonstrations and thwart a protest march called by separatists opposed to Indian rule.
"Forces fired to disperse large crowds at two places in Budgam district in which two persons died," a senior police officer told AFP on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to media.
"Over 100 protesters (and) some policemen were injured in the day-long clashes," the officer said.
Violence in Indian Kashmir is terrorism: Nisar
The Indian held Kashmir has spiralled into unrest with almost daily anti-India protests and clashes since the killing on July 8 of popular freedom fighter Burhan Wani by Indian forces.
The territory has remained locked down since then as authorities imposed a rolling curfew, cut internet services and suspended most mobile networks.
The unrest, the worst since 2010, has left 54 civilians and two policemen dead so far. More than 4,000 people have been injured, many with pellets in their eyes causing partial or complete blindness.
In recent days, Pakistan has stepped up diplomatic pressure on India to stop what it called the brutal use of force against the Kashmiris, who are fighting for their right to self-determination. India has shrugged off Pakistan’s concerns, saying it was its internal matter.
The escalating war of words between the two rival states cast a long shadow on the Saarc interior ministers’ conference in Islamabad.
At the conference Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh railed against Pakistan for glorifying terrorists. His Pakistani counterpart hit back at India, accusing it of using excessive force in Kashmir.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 6th, 2016.
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