NEW DELHI/ISLAMABAD - India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi came under pressure on Monday over weeks of deadly violence in Occupied Kashmir, with the region’s opposition leaders calling on him to rein in troops and police.

Modi stressed the need for dialogue to end the unrest in the disputed Himalayan region, after meeting the opposition leaders in New Delhi at their request. “He (Modi) emphasised on the need for all political parties to work together to find a solution to the problems in the state of Jammu and Kashmir,” his office said in a statement after talks with the delegation.

Much of Indian-held Kashmir has been under 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 80 civilians have been killed in clashes between protesters and police and troops and thousands more injured in the worst violence to hit the restive region since 2010.

Opposition delegates led by former puppet chief minister Omar Abdullah singled out security forces’ firing of shotguns to disperse the protesters.

Hospitals have reported hundreds of young men and boys suffering serious eye and other injuries from the pellets. “We also implore you to announce an immediate ban on pellet guns,” said a memorandum handed to Modi. Use of the guns, along with harassment, raids and arrest of residents, “has worsened an already volatile situation in the state”.

The meeting comes a day after Modi’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitley warned that ongoing violence in the region would not be tolerated and described stone-throwers as among the aggressors. Many of the young men who have come onto the streets since the rebel’s death are throwing 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 Held Kashmir. The Kashmir region is divided between India and Pakistan but both claim the territory in full.

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.

Fatemi briefs OIC member states over human rights violations in held Kashmir

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatemi briefed the ambassadors of Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) member states Monday over grave human rights violations in the India-held Kashmir.

The special assistant conveyed Pakistan’s serious concerns over the continued killings and blatant human rights violations, resulting from the indiscriminate use of lethal force by Indian security forces. Fatemi further briefed the ambassadors over OIC Secretary General Iyad bin Amin Madani’s recent visit to Pakistan.

During the visit, the secretary general expressed deep concerns at the killing of innocent civilians and the gross violations of human rights in the occupied Kashmir. While referring to the exchange of letters between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, the special assistant informed about the latter’s offer to facilitate the dialogue.

“Muslims in held Kashmir look towards their brethren in faith, at this difficult and challenging time,” Fatemi said, adding that Pakistan is committed to resolve the Jammu and Kashmir dispute through dialogue. He asked the OIC countries “to raise their voice and play a role to stop bloodshed” in Indian occupied Kashmir.

He stressed on the need to ensure Kashmir’s right of self-determination in accordance with the UN Security Council’s resolutions.

45th day of curfew,

curbs cripple life

A day after a teenager was killed by Indian armed forces during peaceful protest demonstrations in Srinagar, the authorities intensified curfew and other restrictions on the 45th consecutive day on Monday in the territory.

Irfan Ahmad, 17, from Fateh Kadal area of old Srinagar city was killed by Indian forces in Malarata area Sunday evening. Ahmad was hit in the chest with a tear smoke shell, KMS reported. Doctors said that he was brought dead in the hospital. With the teenager’s death, the toll in the ongoing Intifada has risen to 83. “Curfew will continue in held Srinagar without any relaxation today (Monday),” a police official said.

The valley has been crippled by curfew and restrictions imposed by authorities since July 9, a day after the killing of top Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Burhan Wani by Indian troops in Kokernag area of Islamabad district.

Restrictions under Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPc) have also been imposed in Islamabad, Kulgam, Shopian, Pulwama, Pampore, Badgam, Sopore, Bandipora, Baramulla, Ganderbal, Kupwara, Handwara, Awantipora and Qaimoh towns, today, to maintain law and order in Kashmir Valley. The Hurriyet has already extended the ongoing protest shutdown till August 25.

There is an acute shortage of commodities as a result of intervention by personnel of Indian armed forces in supply of food items as drivers of oil tankers and truck owners are given life threats by the men in uniform.

Indian SC asks for resolving

Kashmir politically

Supreme Court of India, yesterday observed that Kashmir issue has to be resolved politically and everything could not be managed in judicial parameters.

According to Kashmir Media Service (KMS), Indian apex court observed this while hearing a plea on Kashmir situation, asking Solicitor General to let petitioner Bhim Singh meet Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and express his suggestions and complaints.

“This issue has various dimensions and therefore should be dealt with politically. Everything can’t be managed in judicial parameters”, observed the court.