Conflicts & War

Officer, 2 insurgents killed in gunfight in India-administered Kashmir

Srinagar, India, Feb 28 (EFE).- Police in the India-administered Kashmir said on Tuesday that two insurgents – including the alleged culprit behind the targeted killing of a member of the minority Hindu community on Sunday – and an officer were killed after a gunfight between the militants and the security forces.

“During the course of searches, the hiding militants opened fire on the security forces which led to a gunfight,” a police officer told EFE on the condition of anonymity, adding that after a 12-hour encounter, the two alleged “terrorists” were killed.

Another officer from the Pulwama district, where the incident took place, said that two members of the security forces were wounded in the exchange of fire, and one of them succumbed to his injuries later at a hospital.

The additional director general of police, Vijay Kumar, in a later statement identified one of the killed militants as Aqib Bhat of Pulwama, accused of killing Sanjay Sharma, a member of the Hindu community, which forms a minority in the Kashmir region

According to the police, Bhat was a local militant affiliated with Hizbul Mujahideen, the most important insurgent group in Kashmir, before he swiched allegiance to another separatist group The Resistance Force (TRF).

Sharma worked as a guard at a bank and was killed on Sunday in the first targeted killing aimed at the minority Hindu Pandit community this year in the Muslim majority region.

Attacks against Hindus and migrant workers have been on the rise in the region since August 2019, when the Indian government led by the Hindu nationalist party BJP withdrew Indian Kashmir’s semi-autonomous status.

The resurgence of attacks also coincides with the government’s rush to take greater control of the region, by reforming local norms, which it claims will serve to promote development.

In this regard, the government has now allowed individuals and firms from outside the region to enter and settle down, something not permitted earlier owing to its their special status. The move is seen by critics as a way to change the demography of this Muslim-majority region.

India and Pakistan have disputed sovereignty over Kashmir since the partition of the subcontinent in 1947, and have fought three wars and several other minor clashes over it. EFE


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