Indian prime minister claims root cause of unrest in disputed region is cross-border terrorism.
India’s prime minister accused Pakistan on Friday of fomenting trouble in the Kashmir valley, claiming there was enough evidence to prove it was fueling unrest in the region. Narendra Modi also promised to look into the grievances of those living there in a statement issued after meeting with national political parties to find ways of ending the ongoing violence in the troubled state.
“The root cause of unrest in Kashmir is cross-border terrorism which is being encouraged by our neighboring country,” the rightwing Hindu nationalist premier said. “Since the time terrorism has started in Kashmir… so many sophisticated weapons have been seized by our security forces and so many foreign terrorists gunned down… Pakistan can speak a million lies but the world will not accept these.”
India-administered Kashmir has been under a curfew since protests broke out over the death last month of a popular young rebel leader, Burhan Wani, in a gunfight with security forces. More than 50 civilians have been killed in clashes between protesters and security forces, and thousands more injured in the worst violence to hit the Himalayan region since 2010.
Many of the young men who came out onto the streets in the wake of Wani’s death threw stones at security forces, an increasingly common form of protest in India’s only Muslim-majority state.
Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, which is part of an uneasy coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir, has come under fire for failing to curb the deadly protests.
Earlier this week, Modi appealed to people in the state to abandon violence while promising jobs to thousands of unemployed youths.
The Kashmir region is divided between India and Pakistan but both claim the territory in full. It is the epicenter of a separatist insurgency, with several rebel groups fighting Indian troops and police. They seek either independence or a merger of the territory with Pakistan.