Jammu & Kashmir Chief minister Mr Omar Abdullah defended his police men who were accused of killing unarmed civilians. He said that the security forces cannot remain patient for an ‘unending periods’ when they are pelted constantly with stones. At least 10 civilians have died at the hands of security forces only in June. Majority deaths were attributed to the CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force). Mr Abdullah added repeated attacks on CRPF are making it difficult to keep situation under control in Kashmir, the Indian administered state. (But Mr Abdullah is forgetting that the situation has started to become worsen only because of Police men resorting to rape of a Kashmiri girl and killing of Kashmiri youths who were demonstrating peacefully against rape of their girl. Then only people got angered and started pelting stones. He won’t utter a word about police atrocities that became rampant on Kashmiri people. -nvs)
The BBC’s Altaf Hussain in Srinagar says that the chief minister’s comments represent a significant about-turn by the state government. Earlier this week, Jammu and Kashmir Law Minister Ali Mohammad Sagar accused the CRPF of firing their guns without reason and of being unruly. BBC correspondent says that both the state and the central governments are increasingly concerned about the latest violence, which took place amid some of the biggest anti-India protests in Indian-administered Kashmir for two years. Mr Abdullah appealed for calm and said young people were being "exploited" in the protests by anti-India forces. "My appeal to everyone is to help the government restore law and order as soon as possible," said the young British-born politician, who came to power last year promising to improve human rights. An indefinite curfew has been imposed in many towns across the region, which Mr Abdullah said was necessary to prevent further violence.
A general strike is being observed throughout Kashmir administered by Indian Govt. in protest against civilian deaths. Shops around the valley are shut down and traffic came to standstill. Police who are in thousands have patrolled Srinagar while paramilitary forces made rounds on streets warning people not to cooperate with protesters and stay away from them. While the situation in Kashmir Valley is like this, some 1200 Hindu pilgrims proceeded with their annual pilgrimage to Amarnath Shrine in the Southern Kashmir. Kashmiri separatist militants, at times, used to target these pilgrims. Full protection is provided to the pilgrims every year. Anti-India sentiments are rampant among Kashmiri people. Indian and Pakistan fought two wars over Kashmir both of them claiming sovereignty. But it seems majority of the Kashmir people do not own either India or Pakistan as their own; rather they claim theirs is a separate nation. They often attribute both countries have betrayed them on their independence. Hundreds of thousands of troops are stationed in Kashmir Valley to suppress the two-decade long insurgency.
Many assume the Kashmiri people as Muslims but people there call themselves ‘Kashmiris’. Kashmiri people are generally secular in nature. The first Prime Minister of Independence India Mr Jawahar Lal Nehru promised to hold plebiscite while annexing ‘Jammu & Kashmir’. According to the then agreement between Nehru and Shake Abdullah, the grandfather of present Chief Minister, Kashmir would remain independent nation while three ministries were controlled by the Indian Government. The head of the state for Kashmir was then called ‘President’ and the head of the ministry was called ‘Prime Minister’ as if it was a separate country. But the promise was broken. Whenever Shake Abdullah reminded the broken promise through agitations, he was jailed. Shake Abdullah spend 18 years in jail for demanding the Indian Government to realize the promise given to Kashmiri people. The painful past still lingers on the minds of Kashmiri people afresh sourcing the never ending insurgency.
Source for news part: BBC News, 30/06/2010.