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Kashmir Killings: India vows more tough action, and aid, to tackle Kashmir conundrum

Wani, who was 22 when he died, grew in popularity through videos posted on social media platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp in which he would appear without a mask

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An Indian policeman pulls concertina wire to lay a barricade on a road during a curfew in Srinagar July 12, 2016. Image source: Reuters/Danish Ismail - RTSHIRO
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  • The strategy for the Muslim-majority region contested by nuclear-armed neighbours India and Pakistan has worked in part
  • In Wani’s case, the security crackdown appears to explain his path towards militancy and raises the possibility that other Kashmiri youths may follow
  • At least 34 people were killed – almost all shot by Indian security forces – and more than 1,500 people wounded in the worst violence in Kashmir since 2010

India will go on hunting militants in Kashmir despite widespread protests over the killing of a young separatist commander, officials said, as the government bets that force coupled with development will quell a rebellion in the restive state.

The strategy for the Muslim-majority region contested by nuclear-armed neighbours India and Pakistan has worked in part.

The number of militants crossing into Jammu and Kashmir state from Pakistan to launch attacks against India has dropped in the last few years, and home-grown fighters are estimated to number only around 100, according to one security official.

Last year, in 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is closely aligned to the Hindu nationalist right, also pledged 800 billion rupees ($11.9 billion) in investment there.

That has not prevented violent protests and rioting from breaking out when security forces killed Burhan Wani, a separatist militant commander and a Kashmiri, last Friday.

At least 34 people were killed – almost all shot by Indian security forces – and more than 1,500 people wounded in the worst violence in Kashmir since 2010, underlining how the crackdown on militants is not enough to solve a conundrum that has frustrated India since independence in 1947.

The government must also find a way to persuade local people that it is on their side, observers said, something it has failed to do since winning a landslide election in 2014.

Kashmir Valley Violence. Image Source: www.thehindu.com/
Kashmir Valley Violence. Image Source: www.thehindu.com/

“There is no denial in Delhi … that a problem exists,” said retired Lieutenant General Syed Ata Hasnain, an Indian army corps commander in the area from 2010 to 2012 who was deployed there seven times during his career.

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“But no one seems to be clear on how to get into engagement with the people on the ground.”

Under Modi, whose BJP is also in a coalition government in Kashmir, the federal government has taken a harder stance on engaging in political dialogue with the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, a separatist alliance.

While Hurriyat leaders travelling to Delhi and meeting Pakistani officials had been accepted before, Modi’s government has objected to such interactions, saying Pakistan should not interfere in Indian affairs.

“WHY THIS HATRED?”

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the head of the alliance, said separatist political leaders felt isolated.

“The government of India cannot continue to deal with Kashmir with a clampdown,” he said.

The state’s deputy chief minister, Nirmal Singh of the BJP, said the government was ready to engage with the Hurriyat under a legal framework.

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“They are not ready, but they try to exploit every situation,” Singh said.

A senior BJP mandarin in New Delhi also said the government was open to talking to the Hurriyat but did not appreciate it when they spoke with Pakistan.

He added that the government will continue to go after militants, but with time it hoped the people in Kashmir would “realize that their anger is misdirected.”

“Be it jobs, education, health or any other amenities, the Kashmiri population gets all the same opportunities and benefits as any other Indian,” said the BJP official.

“Why this hatred against the Indian government?”

A senior government official in New Delhi said Wani was a criminal facing 14 separate cases, including the murder of elected politicians and security forces, and that popular support for him was beside the point.

CYCLE OF VIOLENCE

In Wani’s case, the security crackdown appears to explain his path towards militancy, and raises the possibility that other Kashmiri youths may follow.

His father, school headmaster Mohammad Muzaffar Wani, told Reuters in an interview last year, 2015, that Wani’s decision to take up arms was linked to an incident in which he and his brother were beaten by Indian police.

(Representational Pic) Kashmiri villagers attend a funeral procession of Afaq Ahmad Bhat, a militant of Hizbul Mujahideen. Image source:news.xinhuanet.com
(Representational Pic) Kashmiri villagers attend a funeral procession of Afaq Ahmad Bhat, a militant of Hizbul Mujahideen. Image source:news.xinhuanet.com

The brother, not known to be a militant, was killed by Indian security forces last year in circumstances that remain unclear.

Wani, who was 22 when he died, grew in popularity through videos posted on social media platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp in which he would appear without a mask.

Authorities have been accused by some of using excessive force to control the protests that followed his death.

The Doctors’ Association of Kashmir said in a statement that security forces launched tear gas shells into a hospital where victims were being treated, and officers beat hospital staff and damaged ambulances.

Asked whether police and paramilitary forces used excessive force to control crowds after Wani’s killing, BJP’s Singh replied: “It is a matter of concern: this should not have happened. It is a worry as the anti-national forces will try to exploit the situation.”

The inspector general for operations at the Central Reserve Police Force, a paramilitary organization with some 60,000 troops in Kashmir, said his men had been told: “Don’t get into the confrontation with locals, defuse the anger.”

The official, Zulfiqar Hasan, said 300 of his men were injured in four days. (Reuters)

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Nokia Launches Two Smartphones with Notched Display in India

The device features a 5.9-inch IPS LCD display with an aspect ratio of 19:9

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Two Nokia smartphones with notched display now in India. Flickr

HMD Global, that sells Nokia smartphones, on Tuesday launched Nokia 6.1 Plus and Nokia 5.1 Plus smartphones with smart Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities in India.

Nokia 6.1 Plus costs Rs 15,999 while the price of Nokia 5.1 Plus will be announced in September.

Both Nokia 6.1 Plus and Nokia 5.1 Plus are online exclusive and will be available on Flipkart and the company’s own platform Nokia.com/Phones.

“Since the beginning of our journey, we’ve focused on delivering an experience that you would expect from a Nokia phone — design and craftsmanship that stands out, technology that helps you get more out of your day, and our focus on pure, secure, up-to-date Android,” Juho Sarvikas, Chief Product Officer at HMD Global, told reporters here.

“Today, we are building further on our promise by offering two new smartphones Nokia 6.1 Plus and Nokia 5.1 Plus and offering the latest innovations such as an all-screen design with the quality you can only expect from a Nokia smartphone,” he added.

Nokia 6.1 Plus is the first smartphone under the Nokia brand to come with a display notch.

Powered by the latest chipsets and joining the Android One family, both phones deliver a great performance, as well as smart AI imaging features, you would expect from a premium smartphone, the company claimed.

Nokia 6.1 Plus comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor, 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage and MicroSD support.

Nokia
The device comes with Android Oreo 8.1 OS. (IANS)

The phone is powered by a 3,060 mAh battery which supports Quick Charge 3.0 technology.

Its primary camera has a 16MP and a secondary 5MP sensor.

It is an Android One smartphone, which means it will the latest Android version and regular security updates.

The device comes with Android Oreo 8.1 OS.

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Nokia 5.1 Plus comes with a glass body, dual-lens camera, and a notched display as well.

The device features a 5.9-inch IPS LCD display with an aspect ratio of 19:9.

It is powered by a Mediatek Helio P60 chip and comes equipped with either 3GB or 4GB RAM and 64GB of storage. The device is powered by a 3,060mAh battery.

Its dual-lens camera set-up on the back includes a 13MP + 5MP lens. (IANS)