US expresses concern over violence in Indian-held Kashmir

  • State Dept encourages all sides to make efforts towards finding peaceful resolution as media reports say violence worst since 2010

The United States on Monday expressed concerns over ongoing violence in the Indian-held Kashmir, where Indian troops killed about 30 Kashmiris who were protesting against the killing of a Kashmiri freedom fighter.

The young Kashmiri freedom fighter Burhan Wani was killed in a shootout with police on Friday in a village that triggered widespread protest in the Indian-held valley and has since paralysed business across the disputed territory.

State Department spokesman John Kirby said the US was concerned about the violence which had been widely reported by the US media. “We encourage all sides to make efforts towards finding a peaceful resolution,” he said.

According to media reports, up to 30 people have been killed in violence and protests by Kashmiri people have forced shops to close across the valley and curfew had been put in place. The Washington Post also published a photo with a story on Kashmir violence which showed protesters carrying Pakistani flag in Srinagar.

The report said that Wani had attracted young followers through his use of social media, calling on them to pick up arms against Indian forces. Wani’s father is a school principal.

People in Kashmir have been fighting for Kashmir’s independence or merger with Pakistan for decades, the report said.

Thousands of people attended Wani’s funeral on Saturday, crying and raising slogans against the Indian government and in support of freedom.

Quoting unnamed officials, the Washington Post report said that the ongoing violence is the worst seen in the Indian-held valley since the summer of 2010 when more than 100 civilians died in clashes with security forces.