Violent Protests Erupt in Kashmir After Indian Forces Kill Militant

SRINAGAR, Kashmir — Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Indian-administered Kashmir on Friday, many clashing with safety forces, after information unfold that Indian forces had killed probably the most wished militant within the contested area.

Tensions have been excessive in Kashmir, and the newest episode of violence following the killing of the militant, Zakir Rashid Bhat, was in stark distinction to elements of India the place celebrations have been underway for the landslide re-election victory of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Mr. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Celebration has lengthy been advocating rolling again the availability of the Indian structure that grants a point of autonomy to the Indian a part of Kashmir, and Mr. Modi’s victory has elevated fears he’ll undergo with it.

Kashmir, a majority Muslim and mountainous space, has been caught in a longstanding and infrequently brutal territorial dispute between India and Pakistan. Within the 1980s, a secessionist motion took form, with younger Kashmiris crossing into Pakistan for arms coaching. India responded by deploying massive numbers of forces within the area to quell the rebellion, and continues to take care of a heavy army presence.

The 25-year-old militant commander, popularly often called Zakir Musa, was chief of Ansar Ghazwat ul Hind, an affiliate of the Islamic State in India. He was the primary Kashmiri militant to pledge allegiance to Al Qaeda, which had additionally expanded its presence within the Indian subcontinent.

A graduate of engineering faculty within the Indian state of Punjab, Mr. Musa embraced militancy after what his members of the family had described as “humiliation” by Indian forces. He disappeared from residence in the summertime of 2013, leaving a notice for his household to not seek for him.

What made Mr. Musa harmful within the eyes of the Indian authorities was that he took the grievances in Kashmir, lengthy a home political problem, and tied them to causes championed by extremist organizations such because the Islamic State. His violent imaginative and prescient was in sharp distinction to conventional Kashmiri separatist leaders who’ve ceaselessly sought the intervention of Western powers to resolve Kashmir disputes politically.

Residents in Tral, the village the place the commander was killed, described the operation in opposition to him late on Thursday as a lure. Witnesses mentioned safety forces, pretending to be a gathering of supporters, had shouted, “Musa Musa, Zakir Musa,” a slogan popularized by youngsters in Kashmir. When the commander walked out of his three-story home, he was shot.

Swayam Prakash Ache, the highest Indian police officer in Kashmir, described the killing as a “huge victory” for Indian forces. Mr. Musa had remained below shut watch by Indian forces, who had prevented any main assaults by him.

“It was a clear operation,” the police officer mentioned. “He was in our wished listing for a very long time.”

However Mr. Musa additionally had grown fashionable amongst younger Kashmiris, lots of whom embraced militancy after having confronted harassment and beatings by Indian forces.

Hundreds of mourners rushed to his village quickly after the gunfight; many tried to the touch his disfigured physique in an indication of reverence for fallen militants. The area’s authorities closed colleges and shut down cell web communications to forestall the form of large-scale mobilization that has occurred following earlier safety operations.

However offended protesters nonetheless stuffed the streets and fought pitched battles with forces. The roads in Srinagar, the capital of Indian-administrated Kashmir, have been plagued by pink bricks and stones thrown by crowds. Some protesters waved black flags of the Islamic State.

“He was my hero,” mentioned Mohsin Khan, 19, a protester draped in one of many flags.

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