Washington, Jul 16: The US has called for reducing rhetoric and violence in Kashmir, a day after Pakistan termed slain Hizbul commander Burhan Wani as a "martyr" and said July 19 will be observed as "black day" to protest "atrocities" against Kashmiris by Indian security forces.
"It is a situation where we need all parties to this to reduce the rhetoric, reduce the violence, get back to a situation where they can have dialogue," State Department Spokesperson Elizabeth Trudeau told reporters at her daily news conference yesterday. "Obviously we're gravely concerned about this situation.
We're gravely concerned about the violence," she said. Trudeau was responding to questions on the decision of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's declaration to observe July 19 as "Black day" in support of the killing of Burhan in an encounter in Kokernag on July 8 by Indian security forces.
At least 38 people have died and over 3100 others, including 1500 security men, injured in the week-long clashes following Burhan's killing in an encounter in Kokernag. Trudeau said the US would not support any call for increasing tension in the region.
"I wouldn't say that any call for increasing tension or increasing rhetoric is something that we would support. We've been very clear on our position on this. But again, it would be the government of that minister to speak to his remarks," the spokesperson said in response to another question.
Addressing a special cabinet meeting to discuss the situation in Kashmir, Sharif yesterday termed the "movement of Kashmiris as a movement of freedom". "The Prime Minister termed Burhan Wani as martyr of independence movement," Radio Pakistan reported.
The cabinet decided that "black day" will be observed on Tuesday (July 19). Pakistan also briefed the ambassadors of African and Middle Eastern countries over the tense situation in Kashmir. Thousands of people rallied in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (Pok) yesterday to protest the deadly clashes between the people and Indian security forces in Kashmir.