MAMOSA Report — Days after Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat warned of action against Kashmiri youth displaying Pakistani flags or supporting militants, clashes erupted at several places after Friday prayers between security forces and agitating mobs in the Kashmir Valley.
A large number of youths gathered in Srinagar’s Nowhatta district, and waved the Islamic State and Pakistani flags after which the security forces intervened to disperse them.
Clashes followed as the youths protested, chanted pro-freedom slogans and pelted stones at the security forces who used tear gas and charged them with batons.
In north Indian-administered-Kashmir’s Sopore town, protesters, shouting anti-India and pro-Pakistan slogans, also indulged in stone pelting.
The Indian army chief had on Wednesday warned the locals against supporting militants and those displaying Pakistani flags.
“We (Army) will request locals in Kashmir that people who have picked up arms — and these are local boys — and if they want to continue with acts of terrorism by displaying flags of the Islamic State and Pakistan, we will treat them as anti-national elements and go after them.”
The statement received criticism from the opposition parties and the separatist groups as well.
A former Pakistan ambassador to the UN said, “India now portrays any resistance in Kashmir as terrorism. Its powerful Western allies now accept this equation, enabling India to act with complete impunity in suppressing Kashmiri demands for azadi (freedom).”
Pakistan and India relations have remained rocky with several failed attempts at talks. Pakistan says Kashmir is the core issue — its civil-military establishment calling the disputed territory “Pakistan’s jugular vein.” Pakistan wants talks be held strictly on the basis of the UN resolutions. India calls Kashmir its internal matter.
Recent Kashmir ‘flare-up’ threatened regional peace, says Pak envoy to UN, Maleeha Lodhi
Meanwhile, in New York, Pakistan’s envoy to the UN said that the ‘denial’ of the right to self determination to the Kashmiris led to the recent ‘flare-up’ which threatened regional peace and security. “Denial of the right of self-determination” to the people of Kashmir through an “independent plebiscite, promised to them by various Security Council resolutions was at the heart of the current flare up, which threatened regional peace and security,” Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN Maleeha Lodhi said.
The Indian security forces have been engaged in multiple anti-militancy measures in the India-controlled Kashmir over the past few weeks targeting insurgents and militants hideouts and their meeting places – an uptick since the killing of Kashmiri militant leader Wani last July.
Lodhi, addressing an event to mark ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’ at the Pakistan Mission to the United Nations, said Pakistan’s “moral, political and diplomatic support” to the Kashmiri people in their ‘struggle’ for their right to self-determination will continue until Kashmir is ‘liberated’.
Lodhi said that on behalf of her government, she is actively pursuing the Kashmir issue at various fora of the United Nations, raising the issue during meetings with the UN leadership as well as the President of the Security Council, who had then briefed the Security Council on the issue at Pakistan’s request, a statement issued by the Pakistan mission said on Friday.
The Pakistani envoy also spoke about her meeting with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein to press for the country’s demand to send a UN mission to investigate alleged “human rights violations” in Kashmir.
The Indian National Conference said in a statement on Thursday, “The need of the hour is to understand and acknowledge the deep sense of isolation in Kashmir and deal with it with statesmanship and magnanimity,” ND termed the Army Chief’s statement as an “alarming sign of the sense of alienation and disenchantment in Kashmir.
Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad attacked the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and alleged that the statement made by the Army Chief was motivated by political interests.
“Bipin Rawat’s threatening statement is unjustified and it can be the Center’s policy, not the Army’s,” Azad told the media.
Kashmir’s separatist leaders also spoke on the same lines and said the statement was “threatening and scary”.
“India won’t hesitate to kill each soul for this purpose,” Huriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani said. Mirwaiz Omar Farooq, another senior Huriyat leader, said that it “reflects a tyrannical mindset towards the people of Kashmir”.