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‘Militant’ killed in Kashmir as Pakistan calls for UN probe of India actions

  • Published at 02:15 am September 12th, 2019
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File photo of Kashmiris protesting in front of the Indian Police Collected

Asif Maqbool Bhatt belonged to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a Pakistan-based group designated by the UN as a terrorist organization, senior local police official Munir Khan told AFP

A militant in Indian-administered Kashmir affiliated to a Pakistani-based militant group was killed by security forces in the restive territory yesterday, police said.

Asif Maqbool Bhatt belonged to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a Pakistan-based group designated by the UN as a terrorist organization, senior local police official Munir Khan told AFP.

"He hurled a grenade at the police team in Sopore region yesterday morning. He was killed in retaliation," Khan told AFP.

Tensions have heightened in Kashmir since New Delhi stripped its part of the Himalayan region, split between India and Pakistan since 1947 and the source of several conflicts, of its autonomy of August 5.

India also sent thousands of extra troops to reinforce the 500,000 already there, detained almost all the region's politicians, severely restricted movement and cut landlines, mobile phones and the internet. Some restrictions have since been eased.

Meanwhile, Pakistan's foreign minister demanded in Geneva on Tuesday that the UN launch an international investigation into the situation in Indian Kashmir, warning of the risk of "genocide."

"The people of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir are apprehending the worst," Shah Mehmood Qureshi told the UN Human Rights Council, adding "I shudder to mention the word genocide here, but I must."

"For the last six weeks, India has transformed Occupied Jammu and Kashmir into the largest prison on this planet," Qureshi insisted.

"The forlorn, traumatised towns, mountains, plains and valleys of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir reverberate today with the grim reminders of Rwanda, Srebrenica, the Rohingya, and the pogrom of Gujarat," he said.

The minister accused India of having arrested more than 6,000 people without due process. Many had been "shipped to jails all over India," he said.

India's Ministry of External Affairs Secretary (East), Vijay Thakur Singh, slammed Pakistan's "false allegations and concocted charges against my country," telling the Human Rights Council that "this fabricated narrative comes from the epicentre of global terrorism."

"The temporary preventive measures" introduced by India in Kashmir "were needed to ensure security in the face of credible threats of cross-border terrorism," she said, insisting that the issue was "entirely internal to India." 

Pakistan's foreign minister urged the council to heed recommendations by UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet and her predecessor Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein to launch a so-called international Commission of Inquiry (COI) into the Kashmir situation.

A COI is one of the UN's highest-level probes, generally reserved for major crises like the Syrian conflict.

The council must "take steps to bring to justice the perpetrators of human rights violations of the innocent Kashmiri people, and in this context, constitute a Commission of Inquiry," Qureshi said.

"If India has nothing to hide, it should allow unhindered access to the Commission of Inquiry," he insisted. Pakistan was willing to provide access to its side of the so-called Line of Control, he added.

Pakistan is expected to present a resolution to the council for consideration by the end of the 42nd session on September 27.

At Monday's opening of the council session, Bachelet also voiced alarm at the situation in Kashmir, said she was "deeply concerned about the impact of recent actions by the government of India on the human rights of Kashmiris."