SRINAGAR: Indian troops in their fresh act of state terrorism martyred six more youth in Tral area of Pulwama district on Saturday, sparking clashes between protestors and police and drawing a strong condemnation from Pakistan and fresh appeal to the United Nations secretary general and world human rights champions to intervene.
The youth were martyred during a so-called cordon-and-search operation launched by the Indian army, paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force and Special Operation Group in Arampora area of the district. The authorities also suspended mobile phone and internet services immediately after the killings to prevent a large gathering of protestors.
However, as the news of the killings spread, eyewitnesses said, hundreds of civilians took to the streets in Tral town, clashing with government forces at several places. Police fired tear gas canisters to disperse them. Later, thousands of people attended the funeral of the martyred youth in Tral.
Saturday’s clash came a day after India alleged that two of its soldiers were killed by sniper fire from the Pakistani side of the Line of Control. This has been the deadliest year in a decade in Kashmir, with more than 550 people martyred in the occupied territory by the Indian forces, according to a monitoring group.
In Islamabad, Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal strongly condemned the continuing brutal massacre of innocent Kashmiris by India and the continued suspension of internet and train services. In a tweet, he called upon the UN secretary general and world human rights champions to prevail upon India to halt the bloodshed in the held area.
And in a statement in Srinagar, the Chairman of Hurriyat forum, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said that the freedom struggle of the Kashmiri people could not be muzzled by military might and oppression. “Every civilian killing by Indian forces leads to increased anger among people against New Delhi. This anger will not lessen, rather result in stiff resistance to oppression.”
The Mirwaiz said that India had been mishandling the Kashmir situation for the past several decades by ignoring the ground realities. “Those in Delhi who blame the resistance leadership for their own mishandling of the situation should accept that with each civilian killing by forces, the resentment and anger against Indian government naturally grows and will not lessen.”
Responding to Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh allegations that the resistance leaders were instigating the people against New Delhi, the Mirwaiz said Kashmir was witnessing an all-time increase in human rights abuses in the form of killing as the policymakers in New Delhi seek a military solution to the seven-decade-old festering dispute.
“Lakhs [hundreds of thousands] of forces personnel present in every nook and corner of Kashmir are perpetrating this policy [of free hand to forces], the result of which is massacres and mayhem. The most recent example is the brutal massacre of civilians in Pulwama in a target fire by trigger-happy forces,” he added.
Referring to an abysmal voter turnout in the Panchayat election, Mirwaiz said: “The government of India can no longer hoodwink people or the world by taking recourse to these measures to show that all is well. People of Kashmir are fed up of the lingering dispute and want a resolution to it; and not the continuation of status-quo through these measures.”
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq repeated his stand that from day one the Hurriyat had been stating that Kashmir was a political and a human issue which could only be resolved by means of a sustained dialogue with all the stakeholders, most importantly the Kashmiris people.