The United States has expressed concerns over the recent unrest in Kashmir and called on “all sides” to make efforts to find a peaceful solution to the issue.
Protests broke out across Kashmir Valley on July 9, a day after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter with security forces in southern part of Jammu and Kashmir. At least 47 people, including two policemen, were killed and 5,500 were injured in the ensuing violence.
Kashmiris have alleged atrocities by Indian armed forces during street protests, and the use of pellet guns has been under the scanner.
“We encourage all sides to make efforts to find a peaceful solution to this,” state department spokesperson John Kirby told reporters.
“We have obviously seen reports of the clashes between protesters and Indian forces in Kashmir. And we’re, of course, concerned by the violence, as you might expect we would be,” he said.
Kirby said the US was in close touch with the Indian government over the issue.
“But we’re obviously concerned by the violence and we want to see the tensions de-escalated,” Kirby said.
Pakistani leaders have criticised India over the Kashmir unrest, and the country observed on July 20 a “black day” to protest against the killings. The move drew angry reaction from India, which accused Islamabad of interfering in New Delhi’s internal affairs and backing terrorism.
On Friday, protesters took to streets at many places in Kashmir and clashed with security forces defying curfew and restrictions. Hardline Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and moderate separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq were taken into preventive custody.
(With PTI inputs)