Tag Archives: Kashmir

India, Kashmir clash; 6 killed.

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The clash was the deadliest since April when nine suspected militants and three soldiers were killed in two separate incidents in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Three Indian soldiers and three suspected rebels were killed in fighting near the de facto Kashmir border with Pakistan, the army said Sunday, in the deadliest clash to hit the contested region in months.

The fighting began early Sunday after soldiers detected “suspicious” movements in the northern forested Machil area near a military fence that marks the de facto border known as the Line of Control (LoC), Colonel Rajesh Kalia said.

One Indian border guard and one suspected militant were killed in an initial exchange of gunfire, before more troops were “rushed to the area”, he said in a statement.

Two more soldiers and two more suspected rebels were later killed while two other injured troops were taken to hospital, Kalia added.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since independence in 1947 and there have been regular exchanges of gunfire and mortars across the LoC.

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The flare-ups have increased since August last year when India’s Hindu-nationalist government revoked the restive region’s semi-autonomous status.

Tensions have remained high since then and there has also been growing anger over a measure allowing outsiders to buy land in the disputed territory.

Many Kashmiris have accused the government of seeking to water down the local population in India’s only Muslim-majority territory.

Last week, Islamabad said it would grant provincial status to Gilgit-Baltistan — a mountainous territory bordering China and Afghanistan in Pakistan-administered Kashmir that India also claims — a move that angered New Delhi.

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The nuclear rivals have fought two wars over Kashmir. Rebels groups have also waged an insurgency against Indian soldiers for more than three decades over their demands for independence or a merger of the entire territory with Pakistan.

The fighting has killed tens of thousands of people — mostly civilians.

New Delhi accuses Pakistan of arming and training rebel groups to launch attacks on Indian forces, a charge Islamabad denies.


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Pakistani PM, Imran Khan slams India on Kashmir anniversary

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Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan branded India an “oppressor and aggressor” on Wednesday, a year after New Delhi imposed direct rule on Indian-administered Kashmir.

Solidarity marches were held in all major Pakistani cities to mark the anniversary of New Delhi stripping Muslim-majority Indian Kashmir of its semi-autonomous status, a move that outraged Islamabad.

Kashmir, a disputed Himalayan territory, has been split since 1947 between India and Pakistan, both of which claim it in full and have fought wars over it.

“India stands exposed before the world, yet again, as an oppressor and aggressor,” Khan said in a statement.

“Its so-called secular and democratic credentials stand fully discredited,” he added, calling India’s action last year a “crime against humanity”.

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Khan led a march through Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-administered-Kashmir, before addressing the region’s legislative assembly.

Across the city, more than 2,000 people turned out at a series of anti-India protests.

“We ask the world to give Kashmiris their right of self-determination, otherwise we will cross the Line of Control and help our brothers on the other side with arms,”, Arslan Ahmad, a refugee who fled Indian-administered Kashmir, told AFP.

“Half of my family is under siege in Indian-occupied Kashmir, my mother is dying to meet her sister, this dispute has left our generations torn apart,” 31-year old Usman Mir added.

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Police were enforcing tight restrictions in Indian-administered Kashmir on Wednesday, where religious and political groups had called on residents to observe a “black day”.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government had promised the move would bring peace and prosperity to Indian Kashmir after three decades of violence sparked by an anti-India uprising.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses the legislative assembly in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir on August 5, 2020, to mark the one-year anniversary after New Delhi imposed direct rule on Indian-administered Kashmir. – Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on August 5 branded India an “oppressor and aggressor” a year after New Delhi imposed direct rule on Indian-administered Kashmir. (Photo by – / AFP)

Pakistan, however, has alleged it is a violation of the rights of Kashmiri people.

Khan accused India of trying to turn Kashmir’s Muslim majority into a minority by ending restrictions on outsiders buying up property “in blatant violation of… UN Security Council Resolutions and international laws”.

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The change in rules has sparked fears that the Modi government is pursuing an Israel-style “settler” project.

A referendum in Kashmir mandated by a UN resolution in 1948 has never taken place.

“India has learned from Israel how to change the demography (of Kashmir),” President Arif Alvi told a rally in the Pakistani capital Islamabad, which observed a one-minute silence.

Hundreds of billboards and banners displayed graphic images purportedly of human rights violations by Indian authorities in Kashmir.

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On Tuesday, Pakistan released a new official map showing all of Kashmir as its territory.

The Pakistan military, meanwhile, said Indian troops had fired a shell across the de-facto border, killing a young woman and wounding six other people.

Such exchanges are common along the Kashmir demarcation line, with shells blasted in both directions.

Pakistan has repeatedly likened Modi to Adolf Hitler and called for international intervention.


#Newsworthy…

‘Black Day’ Anniversary: India imposes curfew on Kashmir

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Thousands of Indian troops imposed a curfew in Kashmir on Tuesday, with razor wire and steel barricades blocking main roads a day ahead of the one-year anniversary of the restive region being stripped of its autonomy.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed direct rule last August 5, promising peace and prosperity after three decades of violence that have seen tens of thousands of people killed in an anti-India uprising.

Officials announced a two-day “full curfew” on Monday citing intelligence reports of looming protests in the Muslim-majority region of seven million people, where locals have called for the anniversary to be marked as a “black day”.

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Police vehicles patrolled the main city Srinagar after dark on Monday and again on Tuesday morning, with officers using megaphones to order residents to remain indoors.

A “full curfew” means people can only move around with an official pass, usually reserved for essential services such as police and ambulances.

The Himalayan region is already subject to restrictions to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, with most economic activities limited and public movement curtailed.

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On Monday morning, new razor-wire and steel barricades were placed on main roads on Srinagar, and on Tuesday thousands of government troops fanned across the city and surrounding villages.

“Police in vehicles moved through our locality and from loudspeakers ordered us to stay indoors for two days — as if we were not already caged,” said Imriyaz Ali, who lives in the Srinagar old town.

“I saw mobile phones of two of my neighbours taken away by soldiers when they got out to buy bread from a local baker early in the morning,” said one villager by phone from Nazneenpora village.

– Painful memories –
For locals, the new curfew brought back memories of the weeks-long clampdown a year ago.

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Then, a total communications blackout was imposed, with phone and internet access cut and tens of thousands of fresh troops moved into the valley — already one of the world’s most militarised regions.

Around 7,000 people were taken into custody — including three former chief ministers. Hundreds remain under house arrest or behind bars to this day, mostly without charge.

Soldiers evacuate an injured comrade after a grenade blast at a market in Srinagar on November 4, 2019.
Tauseef MUSTAFA / AFP

Kashmir has been split since 1947 between India and Pakistan, both of which claim it in full. it has been the spark for two wars between the arch-rivals.

For Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, Kashmir’s special status had produced “nothing but terrorism, separatism, nepotism and big corruption,” he said last year.

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The move, which has been accompanied by an upsurge in violence that is set to make 2020 the bloodiest year in a decade, has triggered major economic hardship exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Many locals are also angry that for the first time, people from outside Kashmir are being granted rights to buy land, fearing that India wants to change the region’s demographic makeup.

“Indian government claims that it was determined to improve Kashmiri lives ring hollow one year after the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s constitutional status,” Meenakshi Ganguly from Human Rights Watch said in a statement.

“The authorities instead have maintained stifling restraints on Kashmiris in violation of their basic rights.”


#Newsworthy…

Kashmir frowns at toddler’s photo sitting on grandfather’s corpse.

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Viral picture of the three-year-old has sparked outrage with family accusing armed forces of killing the victim.


A picture showing a three-year-old child sitting on his grandfather’s dead body in Sopore town of Indian-administered Kashmir has stirred anger in the Muslim-majority region, with the family of the deceased accusing the security forces of killing the 65-year-old civilian during a gunfight.

“My brother was not a militant. He did not carry a gun. Why was he killed?” Nazir Ahmad, brother of the victim Bashir Ahmed Khan, asked.

“If you want, I can come with you to meet the top police officers to counter their claims,” he told Media.

The police rejected the family's allegations, saying the civilian vehicle had gotten caught in a gun battle between rebels and security forces.

Vijay Kumar, inspector general of police in Kashmir, told reporters that rebels opened fire at security forces from a mosque in the northern town of Sopore, setting off a gun battle on Wednesday. Kumar said one security official was killed and three were injured.

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“The family is being pressurised by the militants to blame it on the security forces,” Kumar said.

But the victim’s family continued to contest the police claim. “We received a call that my father had met with an accident,” Khan’s son, Suhail Ahmad, said.

Relatives and neighbours carry the coffin of civilian Bashir Ahmed Khan during his funeral on the outskirts of Srinagar [Dar Yasin/ AP Photo]

“When we reached Sopore, we were told he was killed in a crossfire. If it was a crossfire, his body should’ve been inside the car, but it was found on the road.”

Aijaz Ahmad Qudsi, Khan’s nephew, told Anadolu news agency his deceased uncle’s car was unharmed, with not even a scratch. Qudsi claimed the 65-year-old was taken from his car and shot by the armed forces.

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The family members also accused the security forces of putting the child on the deceased civilian’s body “for taking pictures”.

“They dragged the body out and put the child on top. The child’s clothes were drenched in his grandfather’s blood,” one of Khan’s relatives claimed.

The family said the man was a small-time employee who earned 6,000 rupees ($80) per month.

The photo of the toddler lying on the body of his dead grandfather was widely shared on social media.

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A spokesman for India’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) faced criticism for mocking the picture of the dead civilian.

Sambit Patra tweeted the photo with the comment “Pulitzer Lovers??”

The family members accused the security forces of putting the child on the deceased civilian’s body ‘for taking pictures’ [Screengrab]

BJP leaders, including Patra, had criticised the awarding of the Pulitzer Prize to three Kashmir journalists in May, claiming the photos and commentary on them were “anti-India”.

Hundreds of people in Kashmir staged protests on Wednesday in the wake of the killing.

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Relatives and neighbors carry the coffin of civilian Bashir Ahmed Khan during his funeral on the outskirts of Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Wednesday, July 1, 2020. Suspected rebels attacked pa

Later on Wednesday, hundreds assembled at the man’s funeral near Srinagar, shouting “We want freedom [from Indian rule]”.

Government forces have intensified operations against rebels since a coronavirus lockdown was imposed in March.

Since January, at least 229 people have been killed during more than 100 military operations across Kashmir, including 32 civilians, 54 government forces and 143 rebels, according to the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), a rights group.

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For decades, rebel groups have fought for the region’s independence or its merger with Pakistan. Since 1989, the fighting has left tens of thousands dead, mostly civilians.

India has more than 500,000 troops stationed in Kashmir, a Himalayan territory also claimed by Pakistan.

India accuses Pakistan of arming and training rebels. Islamabad denies the allegations.

India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir, a region both claim in entirety but rule parts of.


#Newsworthy…

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Just in: Indian forces eliminate Srinagar fighters. | Details

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Three fighters have been killed in a shoot-out with Indian government forces in the heart of Kashmir’s main city of Srinagar, police said on Sunday, two days after eight rebels were killed in another gun battle.

New Delhi has stepped up military operation in the disputed territory since the nationwide coronavirus lockdown was imposed in late March. Indian-administered Kashmir has been under a security lockdown since August last year when the Muslim-majority region’s limited autonomy was revoked.

The rebels were killed in a firefight in the Zoonimar area of the densely populated old city of Srinagar, a police officer who asked to remain anonymous told AFP news agency.

One home was destroyed during the clash.

This was the second such gun battle in the old city in a week and took the death toll of armed fighters to at least 100 this year. More than 30 rebels have been killed in the past 20 days of this month, according to the local media.

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Rebel groups have fought for decades for the region’s independence or its merger with Pakistan and enjoy broad popular support.

Just over a month ago, the son of a top pro-independence leader and his associate were killed in the city.

The May incident – a day-long firefight that saw 15 homes blown up by police and soldiers – was the first armed encounter between rebels and government forces in Srinagar in two years.

The fighting has left tens of thousands dead, mostly civilians, since 1989, when armed rebellion erupted against Indian rule.

India has more than 500,000 troops stationed in Kashmir, a Himalayan territory also claimed by Pakistan.

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Indian fire kills Pakistani girl
Meanwhile, local officials and Pakistan’s military said Indian troops – backed by artillery and long-range guns – fired on villages along the border in the Pakistani-administered side of the Kashmir region, killing a 13-year-old-girl and wounding her mother and brother.

In a statement on Sunday, Pakistan’s military blamed the Indian army for initiating Saturday night’s “unprovoked ceasefire violation” in the villages of Hajipir and Bedori. It said Pakistani troops “effectively responded” to the Indian fire, without elaborating.

Mortars fired by Indian troops also damaged several homes, according to local media reports and government officials.

In neighbouring India, the local police blamed Pakistani troops for initiating the gunfire, saying Pakistani mortar shelling wounded five civilians on their side of Kashmir.

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Pakistan and India often trade fire in the disputed Himalayan region, with both blaming the other side for initiating the fire. The latest incident comes days after Indian fire killed four villagers in Pakistani-administered Kashmir.

Tensions have soared between Pakistan and India since last August, when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist-led government removed Article 30 of the constitution that guaranteed special status to the Muslim-majority region, touching off anger in Indian-controlled Kashmir and in Pakistan. Pakistan wants the changes reversed.

Since early May, China and Indian troops have been engaged in a standoff on their disputed border in Ladakh region, which was carved out of Kashmir last August. Defence experts say China has objected to New Delhi’s decision to change the status of Kashmir.

India and Pakistan have fought two wars over Kashmir since gaining independence from British rule in 1947.


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