Indian Kashmir sees upsurge in violence, tense after separatist conviction


SRINAGAR, May 26 (Reuters) – Indian security forces have killed six militants in Kashmir in the past 24 hours as militants shot dead a TV artist and a policeman, officials said on Thursday, following the condemnation of the region’s most notorious separatist. .

A New Delhi court on Wednesday sentenced Kashmiri separatist leader Yasin Malik to life in prison for funding “terrorist” activities and numerous other crimes. The sentencing prompted politicians to warn it would foster alienation and separatism in India’s only Muslim-majority region. Read more

Shops and businesses in Kashmir remained closed for a second day of protest against the verdict, while police arrested 10 people for throwing stones and shouting slogans outside Malik’s residence.

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India and Pakistan each govern part of Kashmir and claim it in its entirety. Mainly Hindu India has been fighting an armed insurgency in its part of the region since the late 1980s.

“Three militants each from Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba have been killed in two separate shootings in Kashmir since yesterday,” Kashmir Police Chief Vijay Kumar told Reuters, referring to two militant organizations. . “We also lost a cop in one of the operations.”

Kumar said militants also shot and killed 35-year-old TV and social media actor Amreen Bhat on Wednesday night.

Militants have killed more than a dozen people, mostly policemen, in Kashmir this year. One of the dead was an employee of the Hindu government of Kashmir, which worries the small minority community in the region.

More than 3,400 Kashmiri Hindus have secured government jobs there in recent years, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government tried to lure them to the area after militant attacks forced them to flee in 1990.

But Hindus have staged street protests demanding their relocation out of Kashmir.

“We are not safe here,” Hindu Protestant government worker Amit told Reuters, declining to give his middle name.

“Our colleague was shot dead in his office. Our request is for relocation out of Kashmir as there is a targeted killing every now and then.”

The government has sought to offer security by promising to prosecute not only activists but also their informants.

Security forces have already stepped up operations, killing 78 militants this year, according to the Kashmir administration. For the whole of last year, 193 militants were killed while 232 were shot in 2020.


Modi’s government, which split the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two federally controlled territories in 2019, has tried to boost tourism in the scenic Himalayan region known for its Mughal-era gardens, a scenic lake in Srinagar, rivers and grasslands. Read more

Some 900,000 tourists visited the region this year as a heatwave scorched the northern and western plains of India, compared with 650,000 for the whole of 2021. Authorities expect that about 2 million tourists visit this year in total.

The federal government is also planning Kashmir’s biggest annual Hindu pilgrimage, to the Amarnath cave shrine, from June 30. Up to 800,000 visitors are expected.

Police Chief Kumar said authorities would deploy more forces than usual this year and use drones and other gadgets to secure the pilgrimage, given concerns over the possible use of magnetic bombs by militants .

“It is a serious threat, especially because when tourists, pilgrims and security force vehicles are stuck in traffic jams, militants or any other criminals can fix this bomb on the vehicles,” he said. he declares.

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Written by Krishna N. Das; Editing by Bradley Perrett

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