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Posts tagged ‘Islamic Emirate of Kashmir’

Pakistan, India trade fire in Kashmir; villagers flee homes

February 28, 2019

MUZAFARABAD, Pakistan (AP) — India and Pakistan exchanged gunfire through the night into Thursday morning in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, a day after Islamabad said it shot down two Indian warplanes and captured a pilot.

There were no immediate reports of casualties, though jetfighters roared overhead through the mountainous region as villagers along the so-called Line of Control fled to safety. Meanwhile, members of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharitiya Janata Party called for more military action, suggesting the conflict still could worsen. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan had called for talks between the two nuclear-armed rivals in a televised address Wednesday, saying: “Considering the nature of the weapons that both of us have, can we afford any miscalculation?”

World powers have called on the nations to de-escalate the tensions gripping the contested region since a Feb. 14 suicide car bombing killed over 40 Indian paramilitary personnel. India responded with an airstrike Tuesday inside Pakistan, the first such raid since the two nations’ 1971 war over territory that later became Bangladesh.

The situation escalated with Wednesday’s aerial skirmish, which saw Pakistan say it shot down two Indian aircraft, one of which crashed in Pakistan-held part of Kashmir and the other in India-controlled Kashmir.

India acknowledged one of its MiG-21s, a Soviet-era fighter jet, was “lost” in skirmishes with Pakistan and that its pilot was “missing in action.” India also said it shot down a Pakistani warplane, something Islamabad denied.

Pakistan’s military later circulated a video of a man with a mustache who identified himself as the Indian pilot, sipping tea and responding to questions, mostly by saying, “You know I can’t answer that.” He appeared in good health as he was questioned about his hometown, his aircraft and his mission.

Both Indian and Pakistani officials reported small-arms fire and shelling along the Kashmir region into Thursday. Government buildings in Muzafarabad, the capital of the Pakistan-controlled section of Kashmir, were used to provide shelter to those who fled from border towns.

Indian army spokesman Lt. Col. Devender Anand described the intensity of the firing as “lesser” than previous nights. Authorities in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir closed all schools and educational institutions in the region and are urged parents to keep their children at home amid mounting tension with neighboring India. Pakistan’s airspace remained closed for a second day Thursday, snarling air traffic.

Meanwhile, India’s finance minister, Arun Jaitley, suggested at a news conference Wednesday that Indian special forces carry out secret missions to capture terrorist leaders in Pakistan, invoking the 2011 U.S. Navy Seal operation to kill al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

“I remember when U.S. Navy Seals went to Abbottabad to kill Osama bin Laden, then why can’t India?” he asked. “This used to be only an imagination, a wish, a frustration and disappointment. But it’s possible today.”

Just weeks before general elections are due in India, the head of Modi’s party in India’s Karnataka state, B.S. Yeddyurappa, said India’s pre-dawn airstrikes in Pakistan on Tuesday would help the party at the polls.

The violence Wednesday marked the most serious escalation of the long-simmering conflict since 1999, when Pakistan’s military sent a ground force into Indian-controlled Kashmir at Kargil. That year also saw an Indian fighter jet shoot down a Pakistani naval aircraft, killing all 16 on board.

Kashmir has been claimed by both India and Pakistan since almost immediately after their creation in 1947. The countries have fought three wars against each other, two directly dealing with the disputed region.

Hussain reported from Srinagar, India. Associated Press writers Ashok Sharma in New Delhi and Kathy Gannon and Munir Ahmed in Islamabad contributed to this report.

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India warns of ‘crushing response’ to Kashmir suicide attack

February 16, 2019

SRINAGAR, India (AP) — India’s prime minister warned of a “crushing response” to the suicide bombing of a paramilitary convoy in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed 41 people and was the deadliest in the divided region’s volatile history.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi placed the blame for Thursday’s bombing squarely on neighboring Pakistan, which India accuses of supporting rebels in Kashmir. “Our neighboring country thinks such terror attacks can weaken us, but their plans will not materialize,” he said Friday, adding that government forces have been “given total freedom” to deal with the militants.

“Security forces have been given permission to take decisions about the timing, place and nature of their response,” he said. Pakistan’s ruling party rejected Modi’s allegation, saying India’s governing party was blaming Islamabad for political gains in the upcoming national election.

“The Indian allegations against Pakistan over yesterday’s incident are part of the election campaign,” said Naeemul Haq, a senior leader of the Tehreek-e-Insaf party, which came to power in last year’s parliamentary election. He said the violence in Kashmir was “the result of the brutalities of Indian occupied forces in Kashmir.”

The attack has ratcheted up already high tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbors, who both administer parts of the disputed territory but each claim it entirely. Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced Friday that New Delhi was withdrawing the most-favored nation trade status given to Pakistan and would take all possible diplomatic steps “to ensure the complete isolation from international community of Pakistan of which incontrovertible evidence is available of having a direct hand in this gruesome terrorist incident.”

India’s Foreign Ministry also summoned the Pakistani ambassador to protest the attack. Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said the country condemns acts of violence anywhere in the world and denied any involvement. “We strongly reject any insinuation by elements in the Indian media and government that seek to link the attack to Pakistan without investigations,” it said in a statement.

Rebels, many of whom want Kashmir united with Pakistan, have been fighting Indian control since 1989. But the Muslim-majority region has experienced renewed attacks and repeated public protests in recent years as a new generation of Kashmiri rebels, especially in the southern parts of the region, has challenged New Delhi’s rule with a mixture of violence and social media.

About 70,000 people have been killed in the uprising and the ensuing Indian crackdown. Last year’s death toll was the highest since 2009, with at least 260 militants, 160 civilians and 150 government forces killed.

In Thursday’s attack, a local Kashmiri militant rammed an explosive-laden van into a bus traveling in the paramilitary convoy. In addition to the dead, the attack wounded nearly two dozen other soldiers, India’s paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force spokesman Sanjay Sharma said.

Police said the bus was destroyed and at least five other vehicles were damaged. The Greater Kashmir newspaper reported that militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed claimed responsibility. A pre-recorded video circulated on social media sites showed the purported attacker in combat clothes and surrounded by guns and grenades.

Authorities imposed a security lockdown in the southern Kakapora area to stop people from assembling at the home of the militant who allegedly attacked the convoy. Still, hundreds of people were able to reach his home by crossing rice fields and orchards, and offered prayers there.

Authorities suspended security convoys in the Kashmir Valley on Friday and Home Minister Rajnath Singh arrived in Srinagar to review the security situation. He said civilian traffic would be stopped during the movement of convoys in Kashmir.

Meanwhile, three top Kashmiri leaders known as the Joint Resistance Leadership who challenge India’s sovereignty over Kashmir said they regretted the killings. They said in a statement that India’s “muscular military approach to counter an essentially political and human problem is wreaking havoc in Kashmir, especially on the next generation.”

“Those who are here to execute this policy are also under stress and paying a price with their lives,” they said. The attack has raised tensions elsewhere in Hindu-majority India. Hundreds of residents carrying India’s national flag in Hindu-dominated Jammu city in the Muslim-majority state burned vehicles and hurled rocks at homes in Muslim neighborhoods, officials said. Authorities imposed a curfew and appealed for restraint.

Some people were reported injured in the mob attacks. Nearly 100 protesters chanting slogans such as “Pakistan down, down!” and “Attack Pakistan, Attack,” burned an effigy of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in a park close to India’s Parliament in New Delhi. They later dispersed.

The U.S. singled out Pakistan in a statement condemning the attack. “The United States calls on Pakistan to end immediately the support and safe haven provided to all terrorist groups operating on its soil, whose only goal is to sow chaos, violence, and terror in the region,” the statement from the White House press secretary’s office said.

It said the attack strengthened U.S. resolve to bolster counterterrorism cooperation with India. India and Pakistan have fought three wars since gaining independence from Britain in 1947 and regularly exchange fire along their highly militarized border in Kashmir.

Associated Press writers Ashok Sharma in New Delhi and Munir Ahmed in Islamabad contributed to this report.

Death toll in deadliest car bombing in Kashmir climbs to 41

February 15, 2019

SRINAGAR, India (AP) — The death toll from a car bombing on a paramilitary convoy in Indian-controlled Kashmir has climbed to 41, becoming the single deadliest attack in the divided region’s volatile history, security officials said Friday.

A local Kashmiri militant rammed an explosive-laden van into the convoy along a key highway Thursday. In addition to the dead, the attack wounded nearly two dozen other soldiers, India’s paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force spokesman Sanjay Sharma said.

The attack is ratcheting up already hostile tensions between India and Pakistan, who both administer parts of the disputed territory but each claim it entirely. India has blamed Pakistan for supporting the bombing, while Islamabad cautioned India not to link it to the attack.

India’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced Friday that New Delhi was withdrawing the most favored nation trade status given to Pakistan and would take all possible diplomatic steps “to ensure the complete isolation from international community of Pakistan of which incontrovertible evidence is available of having a direct hand in this gruesome terrorist incident.”

He said Home Minister Rajnath Singh would visit Kashmir later Friday and review security situation there, and warned that they will ensure “those who have committed this heinous act of terrorism and those who have supported it actively are made to pay a heavy cost.”

Rebels have been fighting Indian control since 1989, but the Muslim-majority region has experienced renewed attacks and repeated public protests in recent years as a new generation of Kashmiri rebels, especially in the southern parts of the region, has challenged New Delhi’s rule with a mixture of violence and social media.

Officials said the militant in Thursday’s attack drove into a bus traveling in the convoy as it reached Lethpora, a town outside Srinagar. Police said the bus was destroyed and at least five other vehicles were damaged.

“The blast was so powerful that one cannot recognize whether the vehicle was a bus or a truck. Just pieces of mangled steel remain,” Sharma said. Videos circulated by local news groups showed ambulances rushing to the site and people running as smoke billowed from the damaged vehicles. Debris and body parts littered the road.

The Greater Kashmir newspaper reported that militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed claimed responsibility. A pre-recorded video circulated on social media sites showed the purported attacker in combat clothes and surrounded by guns and grenades.

Indian Prime Minister Modi condemned the attack in a speech at a government function Friday saying India would give “a crushing response.” “Our neighboring country thinks such terror attacks can weaken us, but their plans will not materialize,” he said. He said government forces have been “given total freedom” to tackle militants.

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said the country condemns acts of violence anywhere in the world, and denied any involvement. “We strongly reject any insinuation by elements in the Indian media and government that seek to link the attack to Pakistan without investigations,” it said in a statement.

The U.S., however, specifically singled out Pakistan in its statement condemning the attack. “The United States calls on Pakistan to end immediately the support and safe haven provided to all terrorist groups operating on its soil, whose only goal is to sow chaos, violence, and terror in the region,” the statement from the White House press secretary’s office said.

It said the attack strengthened U.S. resolve to bolster counterterrorism cooperation with India. India and Pakistan have fought three wars since gaining independence from Britain in 1947 and regularly exchange fire along their highly militarized border in Kashmir.

Kashmir experienced many car bombings from 2000 through 2005 that inflicted high casualties on Indian troops. The attacks prompted Indian authorities to procure bombproof armored vehicles for soldiers operating in the region.

Indian soldiers are ubiquitous in Kashmir and local residents make little secret of their fury toward their presence in the Himalayan region. Most Kashmiris support the rebels’ demand that the territory be united either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country, while also participating in civilian street protests against Indian control.

Since 1989, about 70,000 people have been killed in the uprising and the ensuing Indian crackdown. Last year’s death toll was the highest since 2009, with at least 260 militants, 160 civilians and 150 government forces killed.

Associated Press writer Ashok Sharma in New Delhi contributed to this report.

China, India soldiers hurl stones at 1 another in Kashmir

August 16, 2017

SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Indian and Chinese soldiers yelled and hurled stones at one another high in the Himalayas in Indian-controlled Kashmir, Indian officials said Wednesday, potentially escalating tensions between two nations already engaged in a lengthy border standoff elsewhere.

The Chinese soldiers hurled stones while attempting to enter Ladakh region near Pangong Lake on Tuesday but were confronted by Indian soldiers, said a top police officer. The officer said Indian soldiers retaliated but neither side used guns.

China did not comment directly on the reported incident, but called on India to comply with earlier agreements and help maintain peace and stability along the border. An Indian intelligence officer said the confrontation occurred after Indian soldiers intercepted a Chinese patrol that veered into Indian-held territory after apparently it lost its way due to bad weather.

The officer said that soon the soldiers began shouting at each other and later threw stones. He said some soldiers from both sides received minor injuries. After nearly 30 minutes of facing off, the two sides retreated to their positions, he said.

An Indian military officer said the skirmish was brief but violent and for the first time stones were used. All the officers spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. Soldiers from the two countries are already locked in a bitter but non-violent standoff in Doklam, an area disputed between China and India’s ally Bhutan, where New Delhi sent its soldiers in June to stop China from constructing a strategic road.

China demands that Indian troops withdraw unilaterally from the Doklam standoff before any talks can be held, while New Delhi says each side should stand down. China and India fought a border war in 1962 and much of their frontier remains unsettled despite several rounds of official-level talks.

In Beijing, foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Chinese troops sought to avoid confrontations and said India should “make tangible efforts to maintain the peace and stability of the border areas between the two countries.”

“I have no knowledge of the details you mentioned, but what I can tell you is that Chinese border troops have always been committed to maintaining the peace and tranquility of the China-India border areas,” Hua told reporters at a regularly scheduled news conference.

The website of New Delhi-based English weekly India Today quoted a report by the Indian military intelligence, which said the use of stones was unprecedented and appeared intended to heighten tension without using lethal weapons. The report said the worst that has happened earlier was an isolated slap or pushing between soldiers from the two sides.

India’s worries over Chinese repeated border crossings into Kashmir’s Ladakh region have seen a massive Indian army buildup in the cold desert in recent years. The disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir is divided between nuclear-armed India, Pakistan and China. The part held by China is contiguous to Tibet.

Associated Press writer Christopher Bodeen in Beijing contributed to this report.

India imposes security lockdown in Kashmir to stop protests

May 28, 2017

SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Government forces have enforced strict curfew in parts of Indian-controlled Kashmir after Indian soldiers killed a prominent rebel commander in the disputed region. Armed police and paramilitary soldiers on Sunday patrolled deserted streets and ordered residents indoors in the region’s main city of Srinagar and other towns to stop anti-India protests.

Thousands of people assembled in southern Tral area to take part in the funeral of the rebel leader Sabzar Ahmed Bhat, chanting slogans calling for Kashmir’s freedom from Indian rule. One civilian was killed and dozens of others injured as massive anti-India protests and clashes followed the killings across Kashmir on Saturday. Eight militants were shot dead by security forces.

India and Pakistan administer part of Kashmir, but both claim the territory in its entirety.

Pakistan warns of escalation after clashes in Kashmir

November 14, 2016

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan’s military says Indian troops fired on its soldiers in Kashmir on Monday, killing seven of them and prompting return fire, as officials warned that the tense standoff between the nuclear-armed rivals could escalate.

The two sides have traded fire repeatedly in recent weeks across the Line of Control, which divides the Himalayan region into Indian and Pakistani-controlled zones. The two nuclear rivals each claim the entire territory, and have fought two of their three wars over it.

“The international community should pay attention,” Pakistani Defense Minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif told Geo News TV. “It can escalate. This could be catastrophic for the region.” He added that Pakistani troops had also inflicted losses on the Indian army, without elaborating.

An Indian army officer said Pakistan had fired on Indian troops in a breach of the cease-fire, and that they “effectively retaliated.” The officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief reporters, said there were no casualties on the Indian side.

The latest escalation was set off by a September attack on an Indian military base by Pakistani militants. India blamed the attack on Pakistan, which has denied involvement. Tensions have run high since Indian troops killed a Kashmiri militant leader in July. The killing ignited some of the most violent protests in years, and dozens of people have been killed in India’s resulting crackdown.

Pakistani foreign affairs adviser Sartaj Aziz said there has been an increase in the duration and frequency of indiscriminate firing by India, which has in recent weeks killed 26 civilians and wounded over 100 in villages near the frontier.

“The Indian actions, which constituted a threat to the maintenance of peace and security, may lead to strategic miscalculation,” he said.

Associated Press writer Aijaz Hussain in Srinagar, India contributed.

Kashmir protests completes 100 days

17 October 2016 Monday

In occupied Kashmir, dozens were injured in Indian forces action while protests were held and clashes took place in various parts of the Valley as the ongoing uprising completed 100 days on Sunday.

As many as 110 people have been killed while over 14,000 have sustained injuries during the uprising which erupted on July 9, a day after Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Burhan Muzaffar Wani, was martyred by the Indian occupation troops in a fake encounter.

Reports from South Kashmir’s Shopian district said at least 20 people were injured when clashes erupted in Nagbal village against the beating of people and vandalizing of property by the Indian forces.

People from adjoining villages like Wedipora also rushed towards the village to protest.

The forces fired pellets and bullets at the protesters. One of the youth received a firearm injury in his leg and was shifted to the District Hospital Islamabad.

The police, however, said that police and forces cordoned off the Urpora Nagbal area and conducted search operations early morning.

At the time of withdrawal, people in large numbers from Hushnpora, Daschnu and Humana assembled and pelted the joint party with stones.

Thirty-eight police CRPF men were injured, and four of their vehicles were damaged.

Late evening reports said that clashes erupted in Tahab area of Pulwama where forces fired dozens of teargas shells in which three youths sustained injuries.  One of them was referred to Srinagar for treatment.

Reports from Sopore said that a protest demonstration was held at the Jamia Masjid.

The protest ended peacefully. Clashes erupted at Arampora and Chinkipora Sopore after forces intercepted a group of protesting youth. Reports said that protests were staged at Nutnusa and Ganapora villages of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district.  In Srinagar clashes broke out at Batamaloo and Tengpora areas. However, there were no reports of any injuries.

Source: World Bulletin.

Link: http://www.worldbulletin.net/todays-news/178782/kashmir-protests-completes-100-days.

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