Indian Congress leader Jyotiraditya Madhavrao Scindia called for a plebiscite in India-held Kashmir , before refuting his statement and clarifying he actually meant dialogue and not a referendum to be carried out in the valley.
In worst violence in the held territory in decades, scores of protesters were shot dead after the killing of a popular rebel leader Burhan Wani at the hands of Indian forces.
“In Kashmir today, there is a need for rai shumari [plebiscite], Scindia said while addressing the Lok Sabha (lower house of Indian parliament).”
The congressman, however, denied his statement hours later, saying, “I have never said there should be the plebiscite. I have said there should be dialogue.”
Pointing out that the situation in the valley had deteriorated, Scindia said, “PDP-BJP [Peoples Democratic Party- Bharatiya Janata Party] government has shed all the principles. The administration is divided and the government, which should support people, is using weapons against them.”
“The wounds there can be healed only through humanity,” Scindia stressed.
Highlighting that Kashmir as “an important part of the heart of every Indian”, the congressman said, “but today that crown is being insulted. This I feel is irresponsible.”
The congressman went on to add that the PDP-BJP government had “insulted” the “crown” of India.
“There is a need to create an environment of peace and tranquillity; growth and development,” Scindia said.
Meanwhile, authorities in India-held Kashmir have shut down printing presses and temporarily banned newspapers from publishing in a sweeping information blackout after days of anti-India protests left dozens of people dead in the region.
Local human rights groups and newspapers say at least 40 have died in clashes between protesters and security forces.
A strict curfew has been in effect in troubled areas for over two weeks, with hundreds of thousands of people trying to cope with shortages of food and other necessities.
Tens of thousands of Indian government troops patrolled mostly deserted streets in the region, where shops and businesses remained closed.
Since 1989, more than 68,000 people have been killed in the uprising against Indian rule and the subsequent Indian military crackdown.
Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the end of British colonial rule in 1947. Both claim the Himalayan territory in full and have fought two wars over its control.