A former chief minister of Indian-controlled Kashmir, Omar Abdullah, has said that blaming Pakistan for the onoing protests in the disputed Himalayan region is ‘living in denial’.
New Delhi has accused Islamabad of fuelling unrest in Kashmir triggered by the killing of a young separatist on July 8. More than 60 civilians have been killed in clashes between protesters and police since then.
“The current agitation is not the product of Pakistan,” Abdullah told Indian news channel in an interview on Monday. “Blaming Pakistan for these protests is living in denial,” he added. “Glut of youth [are] ready to pick up guns. Parents can’t control teens, they may share their anger.”
Earlier this month, the Indian police booked Amnesty International on sedition charges after students raised slogans in favour of freedom during an event at the United Theological College in Bengaluru.
“We can’t lecture Pakistan, preach to Nepal and Sri Lanka while we book Amnesty for sedition at home,” said Abdullah, who heads the opposition National Conference party.
“We are quite happy to hold mirror up for other countries to take a look at. We want to remind Pakistan of its failings, we want to remind Sri Lanka of its failings, we want to preach democracy to Nepal…but when it comes to somebody holding up a mirror to us and say look this is what you have done wrong, then suddenly we have no appetite to hear it.”
Earlier in the day, Indian PM Narendra Modi met a delegation of Kashmir’s opposition leaders, led by Omar Abdullah, who called on him to rein in troops and police.
Modi stressed the need for dialogue to end the unrest in the region. “He [Modi] emphasised on the need for all political parties to work together to find a solution to the problems in Kashmir,” his office said in a statement.