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J&K violence a matter of grave concern: U.S.

People buy milk in strife-torn Srinagar on Friday.—Photo: Nissar Ahmad

People buy milk in strife-torn Srinagar on Friday.—Photo: Nissar Ahmad  

The U.S. has been in touch with both India and Pakistan on the volatile situation in Jammu and Kashmir this week, a State Department spokesperson said, adding that the death of protestors in the State was a matter of “grave concern” for Washington.

Elizabeth Trudeau, Director, Press Office in the Department, who briefed the media on Thursday, avoided a direct response to the question of whether the U.S. considered Kashmir an “internal matter of India.” Ms. Trudeau stopped short of “condemning” the death of protesters at the hands of Indian forces, despite repeated questions.

Hints at engagement

Asked whether the “U.S. Government believes this is purely an internal Indian matter and that ….the United States is minding its own business and won’t get involved,” she said: “No, I would say we’d have – we’ve had discussions with both India and Pakistan on this issue.”

When it was pointed out that while the U.S. was “concerned about the violence but had not condemned the deaths of civilians,” she said: “So we are very concerned about the deaths of the protesters. I understand it’s over 30 now; that’s of grave concern to us. We continue to be in touch with the Government of India. We’ve been in discussions with the Government of Pakistan as well.”

Complex situation

Asked again whether the situation is “something the U.S would condemn,” Ms. Trudeau said: “Well, we’d encourage all sides to make efforts to finding a peaceful resolution. The situation on the ground from what we understand is very complex, it remains fluid. In terms of clarity on what’s going on, in terms of the protests as well as the security force reaction, we’re still trying to get it.”

When her attention was drawn to the fact that Lashkar-e Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed’s statement that the U.S. was giving a free hand to India to use harsh measures against protestors in Kashmir, Ms. Trudeau said the U.S was concerned about his activities in Pakistan. “Obviously we disagree with his premise, but we’ve also been very clear with the Government of Pakistan that they must target and root out these extremist groups, all militant groups and Taliban.”

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Printable version | Aug 16, 2020 2:44:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/JampK-violence-a-matter-of-grave-concern-U.S./article14491376.ece

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