India kills alleged 'militant' in Kashmir

International

Desk report

Published: 11 Sep 2019, 02:11 pm

Security forces in Indian Kashmir shot dead on Wednesday a suspected member of a Pakistan-based militant group who was accused of attacking the family of a fruit trader, the state police chief told international media agency Reuters.

Tension is running high in Jammu and Kashmir since India withdrew the disputed Muslim-majority region's special rights in order to integrate it into the country, prompting protests.

Last week, militants attacked the home of a fruit trader in Sopore, the region's main fruit-growing area, for carrying on with his business despite widespread protest boycotts, wounding his son, granddaughter and another family member, Indian authorities said.

On Wednesday, police killed a militant identified as Asif, who police said was a member of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistan-based group fighting Indian rule in Kashmir, in Sopore, state police chief Dilbagh Singh told Reuters from Srinagar, the state capital.

Hundreds of apple trucks have been moving out Sopore, 45 km from Srinagar, to deliver their produce to the rest of the country in what authorities hailed as a sign of normalcy.

Singh said Asif was responsible for the assault on the fruit merchant's home and an earlier attack on a laborer.

Pakistan, which also claims Kashmir, has vowed what it calls the fullest possible response to the Indian decision to revoke the region's special status.

Kashmir has been under a near-complete lockdown since Aug. 5, after India scrapped its special status as the government has blocked communication access and imposed restrictions to thwart any protests in the region.

Several rights groups including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have repeatedly called on India, to lift restrictions and release political detainees.

Indian authorities, however, claim that daytime restrictions have been lifted in 90% of the region.

From 1954 until Aug. 5, 2019, Jammu and Kashmir enjoyed special status under the Indian constitution, which allowed it to enact own laws. The provisions also protected the region's citizenship law, which barred outsiders from settling in and owning land in the territory.

India and Pakistan both hold Kashmir in parts and claim it in full. China also controls part of the contested region, but it is India and Pakistan who have fought two wars over Kashmir.

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