NEW DELHI 5 March 11: Libyan strongman Muammar Qadhafi has told Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that his crackdown against his opponents in Libya were akin to India’s actions against Kashmiris, Times of India reported on Saturday
It said that last week, on the eve of the UN Security Council debate and vote against Libya on February 26, Col. Qadhafi, in a missive to Dr Singh, asked for India’s support for his actions as civil war broke out in Libya.
“The request for support came even as African and European countries, including Libya’s UN envoy who defected to the rebels, made an impassioned plea in the Security Council to refer Qadhafi to the International Criminal Court,” the paper said. India voted for the UNSC resolution, which was passed unanimously.
Col. Qadhafi has reportedly used warplanes to strafe his own people who are fighting to free Libya from the strongman’s four decades of control. India has largely desisted from using air power to combat the rebels in Kashmir although it has used planes and helicopters to fight them elsewhere. According to some estimates, over 6,000 people have died in the Libyan fighting, a fraction of the Kashmiri casualty effected at the hands of Indian forces and Muslim extremists.
Col. Qadhafi “has rarely been a person India has been comfortable with,” the Times of India said. “In September 2009, (Qadhafi), in a 100-minute speech at the UN General Assembly, railed against India and Kashmir as well. Kashmir should be an independent state, not Indian, not Pakistani. We should end this conflict. It should be a Ba’athist state between India and Pakistan,” he said.
The writer is Dawn’s correspondent in Delhi.