London: Nobel Peace Prize winner and Pakistani education rights activist Malala Yousafzai has urged the UN to work towards peace in Kashmir and help children go back to school amid the tense situation in the Valley.
Normal life has remained affected in Kashmir since August 5, when the special status for Jammu and Kashmir was scrapped and restrictions were imposed. Most shops and schools remain shut and public transport has gone off the roads.
"I am asking leaders, at #UNGA and beyond, to work towards peace in Kashmir, listen to Kashmiri voices and help children go safely back to school," the youngest ever Nobel Laureate tweeted on Saturday.
Malala, 22, said she is deeply concerned about reports of students who have not been able to attend school for more than 40 days, about girls who are afraid to leave their homes.
"I wanted to hear directly from girls living in Kashmir right now. It took a lot of work from a lot of people to get their stories because of the communications blackout. Kashmiris are cut off from the world and unable to make their voices heard. #LetKashmirSpeak," she tweeted.
Her comments, however, did not go down well with BJP MP from Karnataka Shobha Karandlaje, who said the activist should instead raise her voice against the “forceful conversion and persecution of minority girls in her own country”.
Sincere request to the Nobel winner, to spend some time speaking with the minorities of Pakistan.To speak against the forceful conversation & persecution taking place on the minority girls in her own country!Developmental agendas got extended to Kashmir, nothing suppressed! https://t.co/Um3BmGuJwi— Shobha Karandlaje (@ShobhaBJP) September 15, 2019
As the shutdown in the Valley entered its 41st day on Saturday, most of the shops and other business establishments remained closed. Internet services remained suspended across all platforms.
While landline phones across the Valley were functional, voice calls on mobile devices were working only in Kupwara and Handwara police districts of north Kashmir. The efforts of the state government to reopen schools have not borne any fruit as parents continued to keep the kids at home due to apprehensions about their safety.