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CrisisWatch Kashmir

Deteriorated Situation

Tensions worsened between Indian security forces and protesters around by-elections in Srinagar 9 April, with nine killed in clashes during month. Protesters 9 April stormed polling stations and threw stones at security forces in Budgam district; eight civilians dead and over 200 injured after security forces opened fire on protesters, prompting calls for further protests. Voter turnout reportedly 7%, lowest in 27 years, 70 polling stations forced to shut down. Polling repeated in 38 polling stations 13 April; reported 2% turnout lowest in Jammu and Kashmir’s history. Authorities postponed polling in Anantnag, scheduled 12 April, to 25 May due to security concerns. Security forces 15 April killed seventeen-year old boy as youths threw stones at convoy in Batamaloo, Srinagar; clashed with students in Pulwama town same day, injuring at least 50. Indian soldiers 13 April reportedly tied civilian to a military vehicle as they patrolled in Budgam district before releasing him; police filed criminal complaint against army; army chief vowed action against perpetrators, but said “relentless operations” against Kashmiri separatists and protesters would continue. Clashes across Line of Control (LoC) continued. In Kupwara district, security forces 10 April killed four suspected militants during gunfight after they attempted to cross LoC into Keran sector from Pakistan-administered Kashmir; killed two Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) militants in anti-militancy operation in Hayatapora village, Budgam district. At least three Indian soldiers and two militants killed as suspected Jaish-e-Mohammad militants attacked military camp near LoC in Panzgam village, Kupwara district, 27 April. Pakistani military 10 April sentenced Indian naval officer arrested March 2016 to death on charges of espionage and sabotage. India filed formal protest to Pakistani high commissioner claiming defendant not a spy, declaring execution would be considered “premeditated murder”.

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