DESPARDES News Monitor — Three Kashmiri youth were killed by Indian security forces in occupied Kashmir on Friday amid widespread protests across the divided Himalayan region seeking self-determination.
All the dead from the shootout in Shopian district were militants, Indian police said, but villagers discredit that and said one was a local youth, Jasim Shah. The other 2, independent reports say, were local youth too protesting Indian security forces’ excesses amid demand for self-determination.
Villagers said the teenager’s body was found in an orchard near the site of the battle.
“Jasim was with the militants for the last three days, so he too was a militant. What else we can call him,” Kashmir police official Munir Khan told AFP.
Funeral for the three Kashmiris killed by Indian forces on Friday
Dozens of rallies involving thousands of people were held across Indian-held Kashmir calling for action over the conflict in the region divided between India and Pakistan and pending implementation of 1948’s UN Security Council Resolution on the dispute.
Holding placards and banners, protesters appealed to the world community to resolve the long pending disputes of Kashmir and also Palestine.
Protesters also gathered in the main city of Srinagar and chanted anti-US and anti-Israeli slogans.
The protests were in response to calls from local separatist leaders to observe the last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan as “Palestine and Kashmir Day”.
Prime Minister Imran Khan while addressing (his first) the OIC Summit Saturday in Makkah, urged resolution of both disputes highlighting them as political struggle and not ‘terrorism’.
A statement released by separatist groups renewed demands for “self-determination” in Kashmir, where an uprising against the Indian rule over the last three decades has left tens of thousands dead, mainly civilians.
“Oppressive measures cannot deter this nation from pursuing the right to self-determination,” they said in the statement.
Senior separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said on Friday that the separatist Hurriyat conference will support all peace initiatives between India and Pakistan as these will lead to a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute.
Addressing people at the Jamia Masjid in Srinagar on the last Friday of Ramandan month, he said: “Hurriyat is willing to support every initiative which is aimed at a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute keeping in view the aspirations of the Kashmiri people.
“Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s offer of holding a dialogue on all outstanding issues should be taken seriously by New Delhi.
“Imran Khan has often repeated the offer of dialogue on all issues between India and Pakistan including Kashmir,” he added.
He said with such a massive mandate, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had the power to play a decisive role in resolving the long-standing Kashmir row.
He said the road to long-lasting, better and permanent better relations between India and Pakistan lay in the resolution of the Kashmir issue.
Former MLA and Awami Ittehad Party (AIP) President Engineer Rashid on Thursday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to revisit the Centre’s policy towards Kashmir.
Addressing the media, Engineer Rashid said: “After such a huge mandate, the Prime Minister must behave like a statesman and revisit the government’s policy towards Kashmir.
“Deal this political issue politically. Don’t rule Kashmir through the barrel of the gun. All Kashmiris are well wishers of India and not its enemies.
Engineer Rashid said Kashmir was a political issue and needed to be solved politically.
He said to create a conducive atmosphere in the state the central government should release political prisoners from the Tihar Jail in Delhi and other places.
Pulwama victim Bablu Santra’s wife Mita Santra, raised questions over arrangements to take her family to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony in New Delhi by making them travel with kins of slain BJP activists in the state.
The Bengal unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had arranged her travel by Rajdhani Express along with relatives of BJP activists killed in political violence.