On May 5th, Indian troops killed Hizbul Mujahideen commander Riyaz Naikoo in a village in Kashmir.
Hizbul Mujahideen is a pro-Pakistani group. Naikoo’s death is being seen as a major victory for India’s counterinsurgency efforts.
“He was trapped in a house and early today a gun battle took place during which he and his associate were killed,” Kashmir’s inspector general of police, Vijay Kumar said.
Starting from May 6th, however, riots began in Kashmir, following the killing. Protesters began throwing stones at security officers and attempting to destroy vehicles by using various sticks and other improvised weaponry.
The Foreign Ministry of Pakistan called on the international community to pay attention to the current situation in Kashmir.
Islamabad called for holding India accountable for its actions that “threaten peace and stability in South Asia.” According to diplomats, the Indian security forces illegally used firearms against the protesters, and also killed a “Kashmir resistance fighter” – Riyaz Naikoo, which India considers a militant separatist.
The head of Hizbul Mujahideen and the United Jihad Council, Saed Sallahudin, promised to carry out revenge against the Indian authorities for the death of Naikoo.
However, he did not name the successor to the Kashmir branch of the group. Sallahudin himself is hiding and leading members of the movement from Pakistan.
There’s lacking recent information, but as of May 6th, at least 30 people were injured as protesters clashed with security forces in around a dozen spots across Kashmir, including in the main city of Srinagar.
Kashmir’s inspector of police said that several protesters were injured with pellet rounds and three also have bullet wounds, and they’ve been hospitalized.
Amid a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus, Indian troops have intensified operations in Kashmir, the country’s only Muslim-majority state, which was split into two federally administered territories in August 2019.
For decades, separatists have fought against Indian rule in Kashmir, wanting independence for the Himalayan region or to join Pakistan.
Kashmir is claimed in whole but ruled in part by both India and Pakistan. About 70,000 people have been killed in the uprising and the ensuing Indian military crackdown.
Just days earlier, on May 3rd, a firefight between there was a firefight between Indian troops and Pakistani forces (while the Pakistani fighters are referred to as “militants”).
As a result, 5 Indians were killed, and two Pakistani.
Col. Ashutosh Sharma plus a major, two soldiers, and a sub-inspector of Jammu and Kashmir Police entered a village in the northern Kupwara district where they believed militants had taken civilians hostage in a house.
“The team successfully evacuated the civilians but during the process came under heavy fire,” he said. In the ensuing firefight, two fighters were killed as well as all five team members.
Just a month earlier, on April 4th, 5 Indian commandos and 5 Pakistani fighters were killed, when they attempted an infiltration from Pakistani into Indian-controlled Kashmir.
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- 3 Indian Security Personnel Killed, 2 Wounded In Kashmir Attack (Photo)
- India and Pakistan Exchange Fire Along Kashmir Border, Following a Year of Escalation