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Kashmir Narrative: Fresh Cycle of Violence erupts in Indian-administered Kashmir

On Friday, suspected militants ambushed a police patrol in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, killing six policemen

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unrest in Kashmir
Unrest in Kashmir. Twitter
  • The Himalayan region of Kashmir, which is claimed in its entirety by both India and Pakistan, has been grappling with a separatist insurgency that has killed 70,000 people since the late 1980s
  • Several rebel groups have spent decades clashing with Indian soldiers deployed in the disputed territory, demanding independence or a merger with Pakistan
  • The civilian killings triggered widespread protests across the region and at least 25 protesters and six policemen were injured during these street clashes

Srinagar, June 19, 2017: A fresh cycle of violence erupted in Indian-administered Kashmir on Friday after three civilians were killed when police fired shots at anti-government protesters.

Also on Friday, suspected militants ambushed a police patrol in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, killing six policemen, officials said.

The suspected militants disfigured the faces of the six policemen before walking away with their weapons, officials said, adding that the attackers were likely members of Pakistan-based militant outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

ALSO READ: Indian Army Says it Hit Pakistani Kashmir Army posts providing cover for militants planning to cross into Indian side of Himalayan territory

Separatist leaders spearheading protests against Indian rule in the disputed Himalayan region called for a complete shutdown on Saturday to protest the civilian killings.

Mohammad Ashraf, 22, and Ehsan Ahmad, 20, were killed when security forces opened fire to disperse stone-hurling protesters, who had poured out on the streets of Anantnag district to help three suspected militants escape from a village where they were holed up, police said.

“Junaid Mattoo, a prominent LeT militant, and his two associates are trapped in a tight cordon. Intermittent exchange of firing between the militants and security forces has been continuing since this morning,” S.P. Vaid, Indian Kashmir’s police chief, told BenarNews on Friday.

Additional police reinforcement has been rushed to the district’s Arwani village, where the firefight was ongoing as of late Friday, he said.

“All exit routes have been sealed to ensure that the militants do not manage to escape,” Vaid said, adding the encounter might last longer due to “recurring clashes between security forces and protesters.”

The Himalayan region of Kashmir, which is claimed in its entirety by both India and Pakistan, has been grappling with a separatist insurgency that has killed 70,000 people since the late 1980s.

Several rebel groups have spent decades clashing with Indian soldiers deployed in the disputed territory, demanding independence or a merger with Pakistan.

Anti-government protests

On Friday, another civilian – Nasir Ahmad, 24 – who was critically wounded when police fired shots during separate anti-government protests in Srinagar a day before, succumbed to his injuries.

The civilian killings triggered widespread protests across the region. At least 25 protesters and six policemen were injured during these street clashes, police sources said.

Meanwhile, police said they had blown up two houses adjoining the house where the suspected LeT militants are believed to be holed up.

“At this moment it is difficult to confirm if the militants have been killed or not,” a police official from Anantnag district told BenarNews on condition of anonymity.

However, local media said that the militants had been killed.

“Matoo, believed to be active in south Kashmir for (the past several) years has been killed in (the) ongoing encounter. Matoo carried a bounty of 1 million rupees (U.S. $15,500) on his head,” news agency ANI said, quoting unnamed officials.

On Thursday, suspected militants also fired at a police party on the outskirts of Srinagar, killing one policeman and injuring another. The attack came a day after another policeman was shot dead by suspected militants in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district and at least 13 paramilitary soldiers were injured in a series of grenade attacks. (BenarNews)

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Indo-Pak Peace Talks Futile Unless Islamabad Sheds Links with Terrorism, says Study

A Study by a U.S. think tank calls India and Pakistan talks futile, until Pakistan changes its approach.

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India and Pakistan
India and Pakistan. Wikimedia.

A Top United States of America (U.S.) think tank, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace called the relations between India and Pakistan futile, unless Islamabad changes its approach and sheds its links with Jihadi terrorism.

A report “Are India and Pakistan Peace Talks Worth a Damn”, authored by Ashley J Tellis stated that such a move supported by foreign countries would be counterproductive and misguided.

The report suggests that International community’s call for the India and Pakistan talks don’t recognize that the tension between the two countries is not actually due to the sharp differences between them, but due to the long rooted ideological, territorial and power-political hatred. The report states that these antagonisms are fueled by Pakistani army’s desire to subvert India’s powerful global position.

Tellis writes that Pakistan’s hatred is driven by its aim to be considered and treated equal to India, despite the vast differences in their achievements and capabilities.

Also ReadMilitant Groups in Pakistan Emerge as Political Parties : Can Violent Extremism and Politics Co-exist? 

New Delhi, however, has kept their stance clear and mentioned that India and Pakistan talks cannot be conducted, until, the latter stops supporting terrorism, and the people conducting destructive activities in India.

The report further suggests that Pakistan sees India as a genuine threat and continuously uses Jihadi terrorism as a source to weaken India. The report extends its support to India’s position and asks other international powers, including the U.S., to extend their support to New Delhi.

Earlier in September, Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) slammed Pakistan for its continuous terror activities. She attacked the country by saying that India has produced engineers, doctors, and scholars; Pakistan has produced terrorists.

Sushma Swaraj further said that when India is being recognised in the world for its IT and achievements in the space, Pakistan is producing Terrorist Organisations like Lashkar-e-Taiba. She said that Pakistan is the world’s greatest exporter of havoc, death and inhumanity.

-by Megha Acharya  of NewsGram. Megha can be reached at @ImMeghaacharya. 

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No Safe Haven for Terrorists in the Country, Asserts Pakistan ; Becomes Vary of Coercive Action by the US

Rejecting claims of terrorist sanctuaries in Pakistan, Pakistani Defense minister has asserted that his country is not feeling threatened by the U.S. following Trump's harshly worded speech.

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Pakistan police officers fire tear gas shell to disperse Shiite Muslims during an anti-U.S rally, when they tried to march toward the U.S. consulate, in Karachi, Pakistan, Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan) (VOA)
  • U.S. President Donald Trump in his speech called out Pakistan for harboring terrorist organizations, including the Taliban and Haqqani network
  • US considering strict measures like increasing diplomatic and economic pressure, and intensifying anti-terrorism drone strikes to keep terrorist sanctuaries under check in Pakistan
  • Pakistani ministers have rejected claims of hosting any terrorist sanctuaries 

Islamabad, September 6, 2017 : Pakistan says it seeks to amicably resolve issues with the United States, cautioning “any [coercive] American action” would cause instability in the country.

The remarks by Defense Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan came days after U.S. President Donald Trump singled out Pakistan for harboring terrorist organizations, including the Taliban and Haqqani network, which destabilize Afghanistan and plot attacks on American troops there.

Trump did not outline what actions he might order to pressure Islamabad to move against the alleged terrorist sanctuaries. A range of punitive measures reportedly is being considered, though, such as increasing diplomatic and economic pressure, and intensifying and expanding anti-terrorism drone strikes inside Pakistan.

terrorists in Pakistan
Pakistani protesters burn posters of U. S. President Donald Trump in Peshawar, Pakistan, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017. Protesters have rejected Trump’s allegation that Islamabad is harboring militants who battle U.S. forces in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Muhammad Sajjad) (VOA)

Speaking to reporters Tuesday in Islamabad, Defense Minister Khan again rejected that there are any terrorist sanctuaries in Pakistan. He said Pakistani security forces already have taken action against all terrorist groups and are in the process of eliminating their “remnants” in the country.

Minister Khan also cited U.S. military assessments that say less then 60 percent of Afghan territory is under the control or influence of the Kabul government.

“That is why we are all gravely concerned about the fact that 40 percent of Afghanistan has perhaps become a safe haven [for terrorists],” he said.

US relationship

The Pakistani minister added that his country is not feeling threatened by the U.S. following the harshly worded Trump speech.

“However, we are maintaining an extremely strict monitoring of our land, sea and air frontiers,” noted Khan.

He sounded upbeat, though, about “better and quality future engagements” between Islamabad and Washington.

Khan said the Pakistani foreign minister, Khawaja Muham­mad Asif, plans to travel to Washington for official talks after consulting key regional partners, including China, Russia, Iran and Turkey.

“We are trying to resolve the issues amicably because any American action would cause instability in Pakistan,” the defense minister warned.

BRICS on terrorism

On Monday, China, and the four other countries that comprise the BRICS group of major emerging economies — India, Russia, Brazil and South Africa — agreed to boost cooperation against terrorist organizations threatening the region.

A statement issued after a BRICS’ leaders’ summit hosted by China contained the names of Pakistan-based, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad militant groups blamed for orchestrating attacks against India. Pakistani authorities already have outlawed the organizations.

terrorist in Pakistan
In this April 3, 2012, Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawwa and founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba, talks with the Associated Press in Islamabad, Pakistan. (VOA)

Responding to the BRICS’ announcement, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said it also is concerned about the threat posed by terrorism and extremism in South Asia.

In a brief statement, the ministry pointed to the presence of terrorist groups in “the ungoverned spaces of Afghanistan,” including the Pakistani Taliban and its associates like Jamaatul Ahrar, Islamic State and anti-China militants.

“Pakistan also remains concerned at the rise of extremist ideologies and intolerance in the region encouraging social stratification and systematic targeting of minorities,” the statement reads.

Islamabad alleges that India is partnering with the Afghan intelligence agency to support anti-state militants sheltering in Afghanistan to plan attacks against Pakistan, charges Kabul and New Delhi reject. (VOA)

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Meet Ravi Dharnidhirka: The Soldier whose Raw Courage saved 157 Lives in the 26/11 Mumbai Attack

Ravi Dharnidhirka and some of the South African ex-commandos, used their presence of mind and realised that they need to do something to save the lives of the people

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Taj fire being put out after the people were rescued. Image Source : google.com
  • On 26th November 2008, Mumbai faced the worst day in its history- the terrorist attack on Hotel Taj Mahal
  • On that day, the bravery and experience of Ravi Dharnidhirka, Captain of the US Marine Corp, saved the lives of as many as 157 people
  • He was ably aided by some South African ex-Commandos and the staff of Taj

November 26, 2008, saw one of saddest days in the history of Independent India. The Hotel Taj Mahal at Mumbai was under the attack of terrorists from the Lashkar-e-Taiba. During such a time, Captain of the US Marine Corps, Ravi Dharnidhirka had gone to have lunch at Taj with a few of his uncles and colleagues. He had sensed that something was wrong the moment he had set foot inside the hotel. The metal detectors were not working properly, he had figured. A lot of phone calls were coming to all of them, informing them about the shootings at Colaba. In the meantime, they realised that they were under attack as well.

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Captain Ravi Dharnidhirka. Image Source : betterindia.com
Captain Ravi Dharnidhirka. Image Source : betterindia.com

Ravi Dharnidhirka and some of the South African ex-commandos, who had had an experience of serving in the army used their presence of mind and realised that they need to do something to save the lives of the people. They searched the area and found a strong wooden door. They took the terrorised people through the kitchen to that room. Locked the doors and protected it with tables, chairs and whatever they could find. From the kitchen, they took the sharp cutter and armed the people as well as they could. One of them explained the situation to the people and requested them to keep calm. The Captain and his comrades then informed the Taj officials about that in case they needed to evacuate or something, reported Better India, mentioned the betterIndia report.

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When the terrorists set of the RDX in one of the halls, this group of the Captain and ex-commandos realised that it was time to carry out their evacuation plan because otherwise, the fire would engulf the staircases making it impossible to save the lives of the people waiting impatiently behind the wooden door. They removed the barricades in front of the door and slowly and steadily led them through the fire exits, out of the building. It was a lot of risks considering that every floor had a transparent fire exit through which the entire floor could be seen. They had made sure that all the phones were switched off and shoes were taken off so that they could make a noiseless exit.

As many as 157 lives were saved by the quick thinking and experience of Captain Ravi Dharnidhirka and the South African ex-commandos and the staff of Taj who had ably aided them.

-prepared by Atreyee Sengupta, an intern at NewsGram.

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