NEW DELHI: Less than a week after being denied entry in occupied Kashmir by the Hindu nationalist BJP government, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday accused Pakistan of “sponsoring terrorism” to “instigate violence” in the held valley.
In a series of tweets, the former party president said: “There is violence in Jammu & Kashmir. There is violence because it is instigated and supported by Pakistan which is known to be the prime supporter of terrorism across the world.”
“I disagree with this Govt on many issues. But, let me make this absolutely clear: Kashmir is India’s internal issue and there is no room for Pakistan or any other foreign country to interfere in it.”
There is violence in Jammu & Kashmir. There is violence because it is instigated and supported by Pakistan which is known to be the prime supporter of terrorism across the world.
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) August 28, 2019
On Aug 24, a delegation of Indian opposition leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, were barred from leaving the airport in held Kashmir, where local authorities had warned that their visit could “stoke heightened tension” in the disputed region.
Reportedly, the leaders went to visit Srinagar after Gandhi was “invited” by Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Governor Satya Pal Malik to stake stock of the situation in the valley. At the airport, however, officials refused to let the delegation exit and visit parts of the held valley.
Later on, the J&K government had said that the leaders had been asked not to visit Srinagar as the administration works to restore order after weeks of protests against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Aug 5 decision to strip the occupied territory of its special status.
Upon his return, Rahul said that it was clear that the situation in the valley was not normal. He added that if restrictions are in place because of Section 144, then he was ready to go individually.
Communications and media blackout in occupied Kashmir continues through the 23rd consecutive day today, with former chief ministers and other politicians still under house arrest.
A day earlier, a large number of Kashmiri protesters were injured after Indian forces opened fire on them in the Soura neighborhood.
According to the Kashmir Media Service, scores of people defied the curfew again “in [the] south, north, and central Kashmir […] against India’s latest onslaught and [the] imposition of Hindu culture on Kashmiri people”.
Many were injured when Indian soldiers opened fire, using pellets, bullets, and teargas shells on protesters, it said, as New Delhi deliberately aimed to destroy businesses. Locals, the KMS added, were extremely concerned for “their teenaged sons, who were abducted by the troops during nocturnal raids”.