Kashmir opposition leaders meet Indian President Pranab Mukherjee

'The motive was to bring to the President's notice the situation with which the state of Jammu and Kashmir and especially the Kashmir valley is grappling,'said a leader of Communist Party of India(M) Photograph:( Getty )

Reuters New Delhi, India Aug 20, 2016, 09.51 AM (IST)
A delegation of opposition leaders from India's Kashmir met President Pranab Mukherjee in capital New Delhi on Saturday to apprise him of the prevailing unrest in the northern province.

Kashmir has been on the boil since Indian security forces gunned down 22-year-old Burhan Wani, leader of Hizbul Mujahideen, a group fighting Indian control of the Muslim-majority region, on July 8. Wani represented a new generation of fighters in a region where alienation runs deep even though attacks have fallen dramatically in recent years. His killing has triggered the Valley's worst outbreak of violence in six years.

The delegation included leaders from National Conference, Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M), Congress, Democratic Party Front (DPF) and People's Democratic Front (PDF).

The delegation called for a political plan to diffuse the over month-and-a-half long crisis in India's only Muslim-majority state.

"The motive was to bring to the president's notice the situation with which the state of Jammu and Kashmir and especially the Kashmir valley is grappling. According to us, this is a big human tragedy which is being faced by our people," said a leader of CPI (M), Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami.

Tarigami alleged that the federal and state government had so far followed an inhuman approach in tackling the situation.

Meanwhile, curfew continued to remain in force for the 43rd consecutive day in the Valley with the police personnel maintaining strict vigil in Srinagar, the summer capital of the province. Shops remained shut and roads deserted as civilians chose to stay indoors. Repeated clashes between protesters and security forces have overwhelmed hospitals, where some patients with severe injuries said they had been beaten in their homes by troops.

At least 65 people have been killed and 6,000 injured in the ensuing clashes, many of them wounded by pellets fired by security forces enforcing a curfew across the region. India has urged its security forces to act with restraint as they try to keep protesters off the streets and quell near-daily violence, but many segments have accused troops of using excessive force.

Kashmir is at the centre of a decades-old rivalry between India and Pakistan, which rules a northwestern section of the divided region, and backed an insurgency in the late 1980s and 1990s that Indian security forces largely crushed. 

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