Deadly gunfire in Kashmir

Demonstrators outside of the United Nations Headquarters in New York, USA call for peace in Kashmir. Demonstrators outside of the United Nations Headquarters in New York, USA call for peace in Kashmir. [Shannon Stapleton/Reuters]

31 January 2020

Police and rebel forces clashed in Indian-administered Kashmir

Three rebel fighters were killed in Jammu in Indian-administered Kashmir after they opened fire on police forces at around 5 am on 31 January 2020. The fighters began shooting at the police after the police intercepted the rebels’ Srinagar-bound goods truck near a toll plaza. In addition to the three fighters that were killed, one police officer also sustained injuries. Al Jazeera noted that as a precautionary measure, police searched the area for any other rebel fighters and closed nearby schools in Nagrota. 

The gunfight is one of many rebel-police encounters that have sprung up in Kashmir within the last year. These flare-ups originate as rebels feel like Indian rule is being imposed upon them after their autonomous status was revoked. As detailed by the Andalou Agency, in January 2020, 17 rebel militants and two Indian police officers were killed in rebel-police conflicts. Additionally, in 2019 alone there were 87 rebel-police encounters with nearly 135 rebel militant casualties.

Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), a state located between northwest India and northeast Pakistan, has been the source of international tensions for several decades since the first Indo-Pakistani War in 1947. Vox reports that within the past year, those tensions escalated after India revoked a part of their Constitution, Article 370, that gave J&K autonomy. Because J&K has a Muslim-majority population, the government of Pakistan claims that J&K is Pakistani land, not Indian. Both countries have threatened to escalate as far as nuclear warfare to determine the sovereignty of J&K.

On the same day as the gunfight in Jammu, Al Jazeera reported that European Parliament delayed a vote that would have criticized India’s lockdown of Kashmir. The vote also would have condemned India’s new Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). The CAA, backed by India’s Hindu-nationalist government, is expected to be used as the reason to strip citizenship from millions of Muslim Indians. European Parliament decided to hold the vote until after India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, attends a bilateral summit in Brussels in mid-March. 


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Author: Vito Quaglia; Editor: Rachel Warner

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