Lahore: In an on going spar over Burhan Wani’s killing in Kashmir, Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed warned that the violence in Kashmir will escalate while alleging that America is supporting India’s oppression in the region.
"India has adopted only one way - sending its army and more paramilitary troops into Kashmir. The more they (Kashmiris) are attacked the more there will be a reaction and as a result the movement is growing,” he told the Associated Press.
Saeed blamed that US has encouraged India by saying Kashmir is an internal Indian matter.
“Pakistan has always wanted the US to play a mediation role but the US had never accepted. But now, based on the new relations and friendship between India and the US, Kashmir has been sacrificed. Now the US has accepted that Kashmir is part of India and has said that it is India's internal matter and should be resolved by India,” Saeed said.
“We believe that that this is US support for oppression, which should not have been given by the US. As it is a significant crime that India is committing against us, we believe the US is committing the greater crime now by saying it is an internal Indian matter. This has given India encouragement and because of this the killings and violence will be increased in area. It is true that the US will be responsible along with India for this - that they have changed their policy and essentially the US has given a clean slate to India for this violence,” he added.
Hafiz Saeed, designated a terrorist by the United States with a $10 million bounty on his head, also said he will lead nationwide demonstrations in Pakistan to force its government to sever ties with the United States if it cannot convince Washington to intervene in the decades old Kashmir dispute.
"After the statement by the US over this new situation, we will also have to launch our movement in this way, to gather all organisations in Pakistan to pressure the Pakistani government to hold the right dialogue with America over the Kashmir issue and convince them to go back to the right stance,” India’s most wanted terrorist said.
The U.S.-declared terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba is suspected of carrying out the 2008 Mumbai terror attack and was banned in Pakistan in 2015 but Saeed, who leads its charity arm in Pakistan, travels freely and gives speeches inciting people to attack Western and Indian interests. Indian government has long demanded Islamabad arrest Saeed.
Militants are demanding that the Himalayan state of Kashmir, which is divided between India and Pakistan be united either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country.
At least 31 people have been killed in Kashmir amid recent street protests after Indian troops last week killed Burhan Wani, a charismatic Kashmiri insurgent.
“America is supporting this oppression by India by saying it is an internal matter,” Saeed said in the interview, which took place on Wednesday at his home in the eastern city of Lahore. “This has given India encouragement and because of this the killings and violence” will continue.
A Pakistani national, Ajmal Amir Kasab, was the only person arrested in the Mumbai attacks. Kasab testified that he received training at a Lashkar-e-Taiba camp in Muridke, located outside Lahore, where Saeed now lives.
Kasab, who was hanged in India in 2012 for his part in the attacks, also said Saeed was among the inspirational speakers that would visit the training camp.
India has repeatedly demanded Pakistan arrest Saeed but when he has been detained, his incarceration has been brief and Pakistani courts, including its Supreme Court has cleared him of terrorism charges.
“Many times I have been arrested on the order of America and India . . . (but) the Lahore high court freed me and also my organization saying we were innocent of terrorism charges and did not participate in any terrorist activities,” said Saeed.
(With inputs from AP)