India-Pakistan (Kashmir)

CrisisWatch India-Pakistan (Kashmir)

Unchanged Situation

Acrimony persisted between India and Pakistan, while Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) witnessed insecurity, Hindu Pandits’ relocation campaign and protests of property demolitions.

India alleged Pakistani drone operations. Indian security agencies continued to claim they had intercepted drones infiltrating Indian territory from Pakistan. Notably, forces 3 Feb shot down drone in Punjab’s Amritsar sector; 10 Feb recovered arms and drugs from intercepted drone in Punjab’s Ferozepur sector and intercepted three Pakistani infiltrators in Kupwara district, killing one.

Militant attacks and security operations remained at low ebb. Amid harsh winter, militant activity remained reduced while security forces conducted arrests: 1 Feb arrested three alleged Lashkar-e-Tayyaba militants in Rajouri district and three more in Srinagar city 7 Feb; 3 Feb arrested six Jaish-e-Muhammad militant associates in Kulgam district. The Resistance Front claimed responsibility for reported 15 Feb attack in Srinagar; security forces 17 Feb arrested two militants of group in Srinagar. Security forces 18 Feb arrested three suspected Hizbul Mujahideen militant associates in Kulgam district. On fourth anniversary of Pulwama suicide attack that killed 40 security personnel, Kashmir’s senior police official 14 Feb announced four of 19 Jaish-e-Mohammad militants involved were still at large and that group has only eight local fighters in region. Media outlet Indian Express 21 Feb reported govt was considering withdrawal of army from Kashmir, to be replaced by paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force.

Hindu Pandits sought relocation, locals protested authorities’ “anti-encroachment” drive. Kashmiri Hindu Pandit govt employees continued protests, refusing to work until demands are met for transfer to Jammu from Kashmir following targeted militant attacks against them. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi early Feb urged govt “not to force Kashmiri Pandit government officials to return to the Valley amid targeted killings”. Suspected militants 26 Feb killed Kashmiri Pandit man in Pulwama district. Meanwhile, J&K authorities continued anti-encroachment efforts through demolition of properties that started in Jan, triggering mass protests in Srinagar, Bathindi and Ramban on 4 Feb, while markets 15 Feb observed shutdown in Kashmir valley; people claimed authorities have not given enough time to prove ownership.

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