NEW DELHI, India – Pro-Indian Kashmiri politicians have demanded Prime Minister Narendra Modi take serious steps to halt weeks-long deadly violence in the disputed Himalayan region.
A delegation of politicians, led by the former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, on Monday met Premier Modi in the Indian capital New Delhi, seeking an immediate ban on pellet guns and calling for his intervention in ending the unrest in the Muslim-majority State.
The politicians in a memorandum handed to Modi singled out Indian security forces’ firing of shotguns to disperse the stone-throwing Kashmiri protesters. “We also implore you to announce an immediate ban on pellet guns.”
The memorandum adds that use of the guns along with raids and arrest of residents “has worsened an already volatile situation in the state.”
It also expressed its “dismay at the lack of a political approach to deal with the situation.”
The delegation also said, “continued failure to address the unrest in Kashmir will further deepen the sense of alienation” and hoped that the prime minister “will take immediate measures to address this grave situation.”
After meeting the opposition leaders in New Delhi, Modi’s office in a statement stressed the need for dialogue to end the unrest in the disputed Himalayan region.
“He (Modi) emphasized on the need for all political parties to work together to find a solution to the problems in the state of Jammu and Kashmir,” the statement read.
Clashes erupted in Indian-controlled Kashmir on July 8, when people protested against the killing of Burhan Wani, a popular pro-independence fighter, by Indian forces.
At least 65 people have so far been killed during clashes between protesters and Indian forces.
Indian forces have imposed a curfew across large parts of the Muslim-majority territory since July.
There are an estimated 500,000 Indian troops currently deployed in the restive territory.
Since India and Pakistan won independence from British rule in 1947, the arch-rivals have claimed Kashmir in full but have had only partial control over it.
Thousands of people have been killed in the unrest in Kashmir since early 1990s.