Narendra Modi calls for end to Kashmir violence

By AFP
Published: August 9, 2016
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Over 50 civilians have been killed and thousands more injured in clashes between protesters and police in held-Kashmir. PHOTO: AFP

Over 50 civilians have been killed and thousands more injured in clashes between protesters and police in held-Kashmir. PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI: India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Tuesday for an end to the violence in held Kashmir, promising jobs for young people, in his first comments since deadly clashes began over a month ago.

Much of Indian-held Kashmir has been under a curfew since protests broke out over the death on July 8 of a popular young rebel leader in a gunfight with security forces.

More than 50 civilians have been killed in clashes between protesters and police and troops and thousands more injured in the worst violence to hit the restive Himalayan region since 2010.

“We want to create jobs and employment for the youth of Kashmir. The entire country is with you,” said Modi.

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The prime minister has faced criticism for failing to speak out about the unrest, which has abated but shows no signs of ending. Two police officers have also been killed.

“Peace, unity and harmony in Kashmir is everyone’s priority,” Modi said in a speech broadcast on national television, blaming “a few misguided people” for the violence.

“It pains me sometimes that some young men, who should have a laptop, a volleyball, cricket bat… have been given stones in their hands.”

“This may benefit some people’s political agendas but what about the innocent youth?” Modi added.

Many of the young men who came out onto the streets in the wake of the rebel’s death threw stones at security forces, an increasingly common form of protest in the area.

Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party is part of an uneasy coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir, India’s only Muslim-majority state.

The Kashmir region is divided between Pakistan and India but both claim the Himalayan territory in full.

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The Kashmir Valley, where the recent violence has occurred, is the epicentre of a separatist insurgency, with several rebel groups fighting Indian troops and police. They seek either independence or merger of the territory with Pakistan.

Separatist leader Mirwaiz Omar Farooq said Modi’s comments downplayed the strength of feeling in the region.

“It is not a movement of a few people who are throwing stones, educated youth are picking up guns for their basic political rights. In Kashmir, it is a mass movement for our right of self-determination,” he told AFP.

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Reader Comments (5)

  • point
    Aug 9, 2016 - 7:11PM

    Modi needs to read the independent coverage of BBC in Indian occupied Kashmir!! It is not few Mr. its whole population!!Recommend

  • Sunil Sinha
    Aug 9, 2016 - 8:49PM

    Pakistan has no locus standee on Kashmir according to UN resolution. Its the biggest violator. Recommend

  • Lolz
    Aug 10, 2016 - 2:33AM

    @Sunil Sinha: It is India that violated when it occupied a muslim majority state with an illegal authority of a minority ruler that ruled illegally. Recommend

  • HaHa
    Aug 10, 2016 - 5:09AM

    @Lolz It is the Muslims that violated everything by occupying the Hindu lands and converting the local population by the power of the sword. If anyone needs to leave Kashmir, they are the central Asian muslims.Recommend

  • ZAK
    Aug 10, 2016 - 6:31AM

    It is matter of self determination of Kashmiries. By giving lolly pop of jobs you cannot stop them from their right.

    Indian govt has forced them to pick guns,stones and ghulails.

    Are Indian security forces offering them flowers so that they pick laptop, vollyball,bat etc.

    You cannot stop people from their basic right to self determination.Recommend

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