Narendra Modi

Peace, unity in Kashmir everyone’s priority, Modi says

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reacted to the recent violence in Indian-controlled Kashmir, saying the volatile Himalayan region deserves more government attention.

“Peace, unity and harmony in Kashmir is everyone’s priority,” Modi said in a speech broadcast on national television on Tuesday.

The Indian premier, who has been criticized for failing to speak out about the recent unrest in Kashmir, said the government will do its best to defuse the tension in Kashmir.

“We want to create jobs and employment for the youth of Kashmir. The entire country is with you,” Modi stated.

Clashes erupted in Kashmir on July 8, when people protested against the killing of a popular pro-independence fighter at the hand of Indian forces. More than 50 people have been killed, including two police officers, while thousands have been wounded in demonstrations that have been described as unprecedented in the history of Kashmir.

Opposition lawmakers voiced concerns on Monday about the deteriorating security situation in Kashmir, urging Modi to take political steps to resolve the crisis. They said silence would be no answer to the violence.

In his speech, Modi blamed “a few misguided people” for the violence in Kashmir, saying the continued clashes between security forces and protesters “may benefit some people’s political agendas.” “…but what about the innocent youth?” he asked, adding, “It pains me sometimes that some young men, who should have a laptop, a volleyball, cricket bat… have been given stones in their hands.”

Indian policemen chase demonstrators during a protest in Srinagar, Indian-controlled Kashmir, August 9, 2016. (Reuters)

Tens of thousands of people have died in Kashmir since the late 1980s, when an armed rebellion began against the Indian rule over the territory.

Since India and Pakistan won independence from the British rule in 1947, the rivaling neighbors have been claiming the region in full but have partial control over it.

India controls two-thirds of Kashmir while the remaining one-third is under the Pakistani rule.

India often blames Pakistan for “rebel” attacks in the region, accusing Islamabad of giving arms to pro-independence fighters and sending them across the borderline to launch attacks on Indian forces.

India has an estimated 500,000 soldiers deployed in the restive territory.

By Press TV