Indian Army Chief, General V.K. Singh has called for a “political solution” to Kashmir as troops killed at least three people during protests. 11 Kashmiri civilians have now been killed in incidents involving Indian security forces in less than three weeks, with each death sparking further protests.
Authorities imposed a curfew in parts of Kashmir and deployed thousands of troops on Tuesday to halt protests. Police and paramilitary soldiers in riot gear patrolled deserted streets in Srinagar, the capital of the mainly Muslim Kashmir, and warned residents to stay indoors, witnesses said.
“Three youths were killed and two others critically injured in Anantnag town when security men fired on protesters who pelted stones at them,” Imtiyaz Ahmad, a police official said.
The head of army said, the military should step back from its security role in the region. “I feel there is a great requirement for political initiatives that take all people together,” General V.K. Singh told the Times of India in an interview published Wednesday. “Militarily, we have brought the overall internal security situation in Jammu and Kashmir under control. Now, the need is to handle things politically.”
Singh added that local police need to be more active to allow the army, currently numbering about 500,000, to reduce its presence in the region. More than a dozen groups have fought Indian forces since 1989, seeking independence for the Muslim-majority state or its merger with Pakistan.
In 1948, the United Nations adopted a resolution calling for a referendum for Kashmir to determine whether the Himalayan region should be part of India and Pakistan.
-via World Bulletin