* Hurriyat leader disappointed Obama did not condemn rights abuses in IHK
SRINAGAR: Pro-independence leaders in Indian-held Kashmir (IHK) on Tuesday accused US President Barack Obama of double standards for criticising India’s silence on rights abuses in Myanmar while ignoring oppression in their region.
“The US president should have also criticised Indians for killing innocent and unarmed protesters in Kashmir,” said a senior leader of the pro-independence Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front Javed Mir.
“Here we also have peaceful protests that have been met with brute force but Obama choose to remain silent on that,” said Mir, a militant-turned-politician.
During an address to India’s parliament on Monday, Obama chided his hosts for repeatedly having “shied away” from condemning rights abuses in countries like Myanmar.
“When peaceful democratic movements are suppressed, as they have been in Burma (Myanmar), then the democracies of the world cannot remain silent,” Obama said.
“For it is unacceptable to gun down peaceful protesters,” he added. Hurriyat leaders like Mir argued that Obama’s description was a perfect fit for the recent unrest in IHK which saw 100 people killed in street protests, most of them shot dead by security forces.
“We are sad he chose to remain silent on grave human rights violations being committed by Indian troops in Kashmir,” said influential Hurriyat politician Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.
“We had high hopes he would condemn the brutal use of force against peaceful protesters in Kashmir and we are disappointed he didn’t,” Farooq said.
For more than three months, thousands of protesters, fought pitched battles in the disputed territory.