Law enforcement officers search house after house for bombers of Pakistani fundamentalist group Jaish-e-Mohammed. In the state of Jammu and Kashmir a curfew is in place and the internet is blocked. Students from the Kashmir Valley report aggression and intimidation.
Srinagar (AsiaNews) – A manhunt is underway in Kashmir: the Indian government has launched a harsh crackdown on the Islamic fundamentalists affiliated to Pakistan, involved in the attack last February 14 against the army that caused the death of 44 soldiers of the paramilitary forces (Central Reserve Police Force).
While in some areas of the state a curfew is in place and internet services are suspended, news of further fighting arrives in the Pinglan area, in the Pulwama district, the site of the kamikaze attack. The army forces claim to have killed the "mastermind" of the massacre: Abdul Rashid Ghazi alias Kamran Bhai. In the clash, however, also four agents of the Union were killed.
According to Indian intelligence statements, it was Ghazi himself who formed Adil Ahmed Dar, known as the "Waqas Commando" battle. He is the militant who last week drove a car full of explosives against the convoy that carried the soldiers on the Srinagar-Jammu highway.
In addition to Kamran, police say they have killed another member of the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), responsible for the attack. For now, the second man has been identified only as Hilal. Yesterday the searches led to the arrest of another 23 suspicious men.
Kashmir is a predominantly Islamic territory on the border between India and Pakistan. Both countries claim territorial sovereignty since 1947, the year of the division of the British Empire. The latent and close conflict that reignites in a cyclical manner has caused thousands of deaths, especially among civilians. Human rights organizations often denounce that the territory is the place of experimentation par excellence of prohibited weapons, like the rubber pellets used on the population.
After the serious accident of Pulwama, the worst ever against Indian forces, the Delhi government has promised a harsh response against the militants and accuses Pakistan of having financed and sponsored the terrorists. For its part, Islamabad denies all involvement and is struggling to avoid international isolation.
The visit by Saudi prince Mohammad bin Salman, who with the Pakistani premier Imran Khan has signed multi-million-dollar agreements, has just this purpose, in addition to trying to avoid the failure of the state unable to repay its debts with China.
Meanwhile, as a first result of retaliation, India has imposed some economic sanctions, including the revocation of Pakistan's most-favored trade status. Furthermore, across the country, students from Kashmir, regardless of religion or caste, report aggression and discrimination. Some colleges have announced that they will not accept the enrollment of pupils coming from the Valley or order them to leave the rented accommodation: among these, two university students of Dehradun in Uttarakhand, and a student of Ambala, in Haryana. A student of Jamia Millia Islamia, the famous University of Delhi, said: "The mere fact of being from Kashmir, regardless of their ideas or inclinations, is enough to endanger the life of a person".
Meanwhile throughout the country various prayer demonstrations were held in solidarity with the soldiers killed. In Orissa about 800 alumni of Raikia, survivors of the anti-Christian pogrom of the Kandhamal of 2008, condemned the massacre and reiterated the importance of every single human life.
(Purushottam Nayak collaborated)