Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani Nobel Laureate stressed the need to resolve the violence in Indian-held Kashmir since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen (HuM) commander Burhan Wani.
“I call on the United Nations, the international community and India and Pakistan to work together with utmost urgency to right these wrongs, providing the people of Kashmir with the dignity, respect and freedom they deserve,” Yousafzai said in a statement released on Tuesday.
Speaking of the recent tension in the region she said: “Dozens of unarmed protesters have been killed and thousands wounded, including hundreds of people blinded by pellet guns used to put down demonstrations,” she said. “The Kashmiri people, like people everywhere, deserve their fundamental human rights… They should live free of fear and repression,” Yousafzai said.
Expressing solidarity with the Kashmiri people Malala added: “My 14 million Kashmiri sisters and brothers have always been close to my heart.” “I stand with the people of Kashmir,” she added.
More than 70 civilians have been killed and thousands injured in the worst violence to hit the Muslim-majority territory since 2010. The metal pellets or birdshot fired from the pump-action shotguns rarely result in deaths, but can often blind victims if the fragments hit them in the eye.
Several separatist groups have for decades fought Indian soldiers — currently numbering around 500,000 — deployed in the territory. They demand independence for the region or its merger with Pakistan. Tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, have died in the fighting.