India-Pakistan (Kashmir)

CrisisWatch India-Pakistan (Kashmir)

Unchanged Situation

Supreme Court began hearing case on Jammu & Kashmir’s (J&K) autonomy revocation, govt signalled intent to hold grassroots poll, and security forces targeted militants.

Supreme Court heard oral petitions challenging abrogation of J&K’s status. After 2 Aug beginning hearings, Supreme Court 10 Aug said J&K’s surrender of sovereignty to India in Oct 1947 was “absolutely complete”, and it was “really difficult” to say Article 370 (which offered J&K semi-autonomous status) was permanent in nature. Due to surveillance and retaliation fears, media coverage of proceedings in Kashmir remained scant but local politicians expressed satisfaction with hearings taking place; former chief minister Omar Abdullah 17 Aug said, “We are fighting and we are there with a hope for justice.”

Authorities signalled support for elections at grassroots level. After J&K in July marked five years without elected regional govt due to ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) reluctance to hold assembly elections, J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha 3 Aug asserted “time has come when we should have Panchayat polls so that people can once again reap the benefits of governance at their doorsteps”, referring to grassroots administrative bodies; govt hopes such local elections will project normalcy in region but significant risk exists that militants could target participants in polls, which could take place in coming months.

Security forces continued operations against militants in J&K. Militants 4 Aug killed three soldiers in Kulgam district during security operation. Security forces 4 Aug killed four militants in Srinagar city; 5 Aug killed Pakistani militant during two-day operation in Rajouri district; 6 Aug killed militant near Line of Control in Kupwara district in north; 7 Aug killed two Hizbul Mujahideen militants, including senior commander, near Line of Contact in Poonch district. Resistance Front Militants 10 Aug threw grenade at security forces during search operation, injuring one soldier and two civilians in Anantnag district. Meanwhile, govt and Pakistan traded blame for violating Line of Control ceasefire, as India 21 Aug claimed to foil infiltration bid by shooting two militants in Poonch district; Pakistan accused India of killing civilian in “unprovoked firing”.

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