Fresh violence in Indian Kashmir leaves 3 policemen, 3 militants dead
By Shah Abbas
Srinagar, India, Feb 19 (efe-epa).- At least three policemen and three militants were killed and one officer was injured Friday, in a fresh spurt of violence in India-administered Kashmir following a recent visit by foreign envoys to the disputed region.
Kashmir range’s Inspector General of Police (IGP) Vijay Kumar told reporters that three militants and three policemen were killed in three different incidents in the valley, including one in the main city of Srinagar.
“Three local militants, who were encircled by forces on Thursday night, were killed in an encounter in south Kashmir’s Shopian district,” the IGP said.
This gunfight took place at Badigam village, where, according to local, a residential building was also destroyed by mortar shells fired by the government forces.
A police official, who did not reveal his name, told EFE that two AK-47 rifles and one pistol were recovered from the scene of the encounter.
The IGP said the second incident occurred in Beerwah area of central Budgam district, where one policeman was killed and another sustained injuries in a shootout between militants and government forces.
“During the force’s operation in Beerwah, Special Police Officer Altaf Ahmed and constable Manzoor Ahmed sustained injuries. Altaf succumbed to his injuries later,” said Kumar, adding that “the militants fled from the spot.”
The third incident took place in Srinagar’s Baghat area near a police station along a strategic airport road, in which militants killed two policemen.
A CCTV footage that went viral on social media showed an attacker approaching the policemen and firing indiscriminately after taking out an assault rifle hidden under his long, baggy, tunic-like attire known as ‘pheran’.
The two policemen were critically wounded and later “succumbed to their injuries at two different Srinagar hospitals,” a police official at the Police Control Room, who did not reveal his name, told EFE.
The IGP also said three local militants had been arrested for their involvement in an attack on an eatery owner in Srinagar, on Feb.17, when a delegation of foreign diplomats were on a visit to the region on the invitation of the Indian government.
Envoys from 24 countries visited the disputed region on Feb.17 and 18 on what was a third tour for diplomats since the government revoked the region’s semi-autonomous status in August 2019.
The envoys from Europe, Africa, South America, and Asian regions toured the city and met local officials, politicians and media personalities amid heavy security in Srinagar.
The purpose of the exercise, according to an official, was to brief the envoys about developmental and democratic measures taken after the abrogation of the special status, and counter the “propaganda orchestrated by Pakistan at international forums about Kashmir”.
Envoys from 17 nations visited Kashmir in January last year.
Earlier, in October 2019, a delegation of 23 EU parliamentarians visited Kashmir.
The abrogation of Kashmir’s semi-autonomous status was followed by a massive crackdown on politicians and a communication blockade to thwart any anti-India protests.
The government also increased its offensive against militants, who, according to New Delhi, are being funded and supported by Pakistan.
Kashmir is disputed between India and Pakistan since they got their freedom from the British rulers in 1947.