SRINAGAR: Ahead of his India visit, the Hurriyat Conference today appealed the UN chief Antonio Guterres to end the “campaign of suppression” in the Valley by pushing New Delhi to hold talks with Islamabad for “resolution of Kashmir issue”.

In a letter, the ‘Joint Resistance Leadership’ comprising of Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik, have urged the UN chief to “advocate that New Delhi engage with us in Kashmir and with Pakistan, with whom India’s relations are also deteriorating by the day.”

“Jammu and Kashmir is not a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan. It is primarily a question of the rights of the peoples of the State of J&K. We have a right to self-determination. Delhi would like us to abdicate that responsibility before they talk,” the letter reads.

“India’s refusal to talk was doing unimaginable harm not only to Kashmir, but to the entire South Asian region,” it states, while referring to the recent UN report on gross rights abuses by armed forces in Kashmir.

Regretting the “lack of sustained attention” on Kashmir by international community, the Hurriyat said: “Not calling India to account on this score, has only succeeded in emboldening its armed forces, enjoying immunity from law causing untold misery for civilian Kashmiris who are forced to live with arbitrary arrest, imprisonment, torture and killings in their everyday lives,” the letter states.

Referring to the “campaign of suppression” by security forces and the “war-lie situation” in Kashmir, the letter states that more than 16000 people have been seriously injured by pellets, “Hundreds have been permanently blinded. 14 percent of these victims are below the age of 15,” it states.

Over hundred civilians have been killed and hundreds wounded during clashes with government forces in different parts of Kashmir this year. Most killings took place when locals attempted to rescue the militants trapped by security forces in encounters.

The Hurriyat letter comes a day after the UN chief expressed his inability to visit the conflict wracked state due to “pressing demands”, following an invitation by Kashmir Centre for Social and Development Studies, a non-profit working on issues of political and economic importance in the region.

“Secretary General appreciates your kind invitation. Regrettably, he will be unable to accept your invitation, owing to prior commitments and pressing demands already scheduled during his visit. Allow me to take this opportunity to convey his best wishes,” the reply from UN chief’s office to the KCSDS letter, said.