Pakistan on Friday accused Indian forces of killing 10 Kashmiris over the past week and condemned the arrest of 1,400 Kashmiris in recent days.
During a weekly press briefing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Asim Iftikhar Ahmad claimed that Indian forces did not even return the remains of the victims to their families.
- During the last week alone, 10 innocent Kashmiris have been martyred in fake encounters and so-called ‘cordon-and-search operations’- Ahmad said, adding a Kashmiri civilian was taken into custody and then brutally murdered in a fake encounter in Bandipora.
He accused New Delhi of arresting 1,400 Kashmiris on false charges and said Pakistan strongly condemned the arrests and crackdown in Kashmir.
Unrest has peaked in Kashmir over recent days, particularly with a spike in attacks on religious minorities, including Sikhs and Hindus.
At least seven civilians have been killed in targeted attacks over the past two weeks, including two teachers and a pharmacist from the Sikh and Hindu communities.
The killings have been claimed by a group that calls itself The Resistance Front, which Indian police officials believe is an offshoot of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
On Monday, militants shot dead five soldiers in a gunfight during a search operation in villages near the area of Surankote in Poonch.
In a statement, Kashmiri police said they killed at least eight militants in clashes during three days from Oct. 11 to 13, who were linked to proscribed terror outfit LeT.
However, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry rejected the Kashmiri police statement and said Indian forces are committing human rights violations in the disputed territory.
- Pakistan continues to urge the international community to hold India accountable for its egregious human rights violations in IIOJK [Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir], and its persecution of minorities elsewhere - Ahmad said.
Official records show 113 militants have been killed in the disputed Himalayan region this year, with the highest fatalities recorded in the month of July.
According to a police statement issued last week, 28 civilians have been killed in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir this year, out of which 21 were Muslims, five were from the local Hindu and Sikh communities, and two were “non-local Hindu laborers”.
Varying reports suggest Indian police and military have picked up somewhere between 500 to 900 people in recent days as part of efforts to track down the perpetrators behind the spate of killings.
Police officials have refused to divulge the exact number but maintained that “only people with possible links to militants or those involved in subversive activities” are being detained.