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Indian PM Appeals for Peace in Kashmir

by Anjana Pasricha July 12, 2016

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has appealed for calm in Indian Kashmir, which has been wracked with three days of violent protests.

The unrest, which erupted after the killing of a local militant commander by security forces, has claimed about 30 lives and shuttered much of the region since Saturday. A curfew remains in place across much of the region that has witnessed sporadic protests.

After a high-level meeting convened on Modi's return from Africa, Minister of State in the prime minister's office, Jitendra Singh said Modi expressed concern about the situation in Kashmir and appealed to the people for calm so the situation can normalize. He said he promised to assist the state government in calming the tensions.

Singh said the prime minister also hopes innocent people would not be harmed or inconvenienced in any way.

India has sent more troops to beef up security in the region.

Prominent Kashmir separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said the "sending of more troops, which the government has decided, and giving them more powers will add fuel to the fire as it will be greatly resisted by the people."

Separatist leaders have called for a general strike through Wednesday.

Although a violent separatist insurgency has abated, the massive popular protests over the death of 22-year-old rebel commander Burhan Wani have raised fears the appeal of militancy is again gaining ground among young people, who were at the forefront of the violent clashes in the region.

Meanwhile, a statement from the United Nations said that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon calls on all parties to exercise maximum restraint to avoid further violence and hopes that all concerns would be addressed through peaceful means.

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