India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Tuesday for an end to the violence in Indian held Kashmir, promising jobs for young people, in his first comments since deadly clashes began over a month ago.
Much of Indian-administered Kashmir has been under a curfew since protests broke out over the death on July 8 of a popular young militant leader in a gunfight with security forces.
More than 50 civilians have been killed in clashes between protesters and police and troops and thousands more injured in the worst violence to hit the held valley since 2010.
“We want to create jobs and employment for the youth of Kashmir. The entire country is with you,” said Modi. The prime minister has faced criticism for failing to speak out about the unrest, which has abated but shows no signs of ending.
Two police officers have also been killed. “Peace, unity and harmony in Kashmir is everyone’s priority,” Modi said in a speech broadcast on national television, blaming “a few misguided people” for the violence.
“It pains me sometimes that some young men, who should have a laptop, a volley ball, cricket bat… have been given stones in their hands.”
“This may benefit some people’s political agendas but what about the innocent youth?” Modi added. Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party is part of an uneasy coalition government in Indian held Jammu and Kashmir. -AFP