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Opposition parties won first local election in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) since 2019, while India and Pakistan exchanged fire amid ongoing anti-militant security operations.
Kargil region of Ladakh Union Territory held council elections for first time since 2019. Coalition of Kashmir-based National Conference and national opposition Congress party 8 Oct won 22 seats on 26-member Kargil hill development council, while ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) secured only two seats; election was first to be held since BJP reorganised J&K into two union territories in 2019. National Conference claimed victory sent verdict that people remain opposed to reorganisation, while party leader Omar Abdullah questioned why regional elections had not been held in J&K, accusing Election Commission of “taking decision at the behest of the BJP”.
India and Pakistan traded fire as security operations continued. In ceasefire violation on 17 Oct, Pakistani and Indian border troops exchanged fire at Arnia sector of Jammu region, injuring two Pakistani guards; gunfire 27 Oct wounded four Pakistani civilians. Meanwhile, security forces 4 Oct killed two Hizbul Mujahideen militants in Kulgam district. Militant group The Resistance Front in Anantnag district same day fatally wounded teenager. Security forces 10 Oct killed two suspected Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) militants, who allegedly killed Kashmiri pandit recently in Shopian district. Security forces 26 Oct killed five LeT militants in Kupwara district.
Authorities sought to prevent rallies to support Palestinians. Following outbreak of war between Israel and Hamas (see Israel-Palestine), authorities 13 Oct closed largest mosque in J&K summer capital Srinagar to prevent pro-Palestine protests; citing security concerns, authorities also placed Kashmir’s chief cleric and separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq under house arrest after releasing him in Sept. Former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti 21 Oct led protest in Srinagar against Israel’s offensive in Gaza. The Resistance Front 18 Oct vowed to attack Israeli interests.
In another important development. Govt 5 Oct banned pro-independence Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Freedom (JKDF) party for five years under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, citing its “anti-India” and “pro-Pakistan” activities; govt statement alleged JKDF was involved in terror activities with intention of creating “reign of terror”.
Security operation in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) highlighted threat of underground militancy, authorities clamped down on media and Supreme Court concluded hearing on region’s status.
Security forces continued operations against militants. Security forces 13 Sept started six-day major operation with heavy weapons against militants of The Resistance Force – affiliated to Lashkar-e-Tayyaba – in forested areas of Anantnag district, leaving four security personnel and two militants dead; operation underscored new militant strategy utilised since 2021 to lure security personnel to dense forests to inflict maximum damage and countered New Delhi’s narrative of normalcy in Kashmir. Militant strikes could pick up before onset of winter weather. Elsewhere in J&K, security forces 4-5 Sept killed militant in Jammu’s Reasi district; security forces 6 Sept killed two militants from Pakistan infiltrating Jammu’s Poonch district; clashes in Jammu’s Rajouri district between security forces and militants 12-13 Sept killed two militants and security member; security forces 16 Sept killed three militants during alleged infiltration attempt in Baramulla district along Line of Control. Security forces 18 Sept thwarted attack by militant with pistol in Srinagar.
Authorities continued crackdown on press. Police 1 Sept issued statement threatening legal action against BBC for publishing story on India’s crackdown on Kashmiri journalism. Police 14 Sept arrested journalist Majid Hyderi under stringent Public Safety Act; though seen as pro-govt, Hyderi was likely arrested for raising sensitive questions on social media regarding corruption allegations against Lieutenant Governor and another top official. Former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti 15 Sept said “This is how journalists who expose scams are accused of intimidation and defamation”.
Supreme Court concluded hearings on J&K’s status. Supreme Court 5 Sept reserved judgment, opting to give decision at later date, in petitions challenging constitutionality of govt’s decision in 2019 to revoke Article 370 (which offered J&K semi-autonomous status); Court appeared to urge govt to restore statehood and hold elections but hearings are seen in Kashmir as mere formality.
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”.
India approved land allotment scheme in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), Supreme Court addressed case challenging autonomy revocation, and security operations against militants continued.
India and Pakistan exchanged stern rhetoric. India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh 26 July asserted “We can go to any extreme to maintain the honour and dignity of the country”, and referenced “crossing the [Line of Contact]”; Pakistan same day replied India’s practices of “stoking hyper-nationalism and reaping electoral gains need to end”.
Local politicians challenged central govt plan to allot land to landless people. Federally run authorities of J&K 3 July approved plan to give 1,360 sq ft of land to each person identified under landless scheme; former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti 5 July alleged govt wanted to “settle outsiders” and “import slums”, citing 2021 census that showed J&K’s homeless population was only 19,045; govt clarified only 2,711 people on 2018-2019 list would receive land, but Mufti’s party maintained govt’s figures showing spike in homelessness were inflated. Given that land remains highly contentious issue in region, allotment policy could have far-reaching implications, such as legitimising militancy.
Supreme Court prepared to hear Article 370 case. Supreme Court 11 July announced that from 2 August it would hear petitions in case challenging federal govt’s 2019 decision to revoke special semi-autonomous status of J&K known as Article 370 and bifurcate J&K into two federally administered Union Territories. Govt 10 July filed affidavit claiming J&K has witnessed “unprecedented era of peace, progress and prosperity” since 2019; court, however, said filing would have “no bearing on the constitutional challenge” regarding revocation.
Govt continued anti-militant operations. Security forces 10 July foiled infiltration attempt from Pakistan and killed two militants in Rajouri district. Security forces 12 July arrested five Lashkar-e-Tayyeba associates in Budgam district. Militants 13 and 18 July killed five migrant labourers in Shopian and Anantnag districts. Militants 18 July killed one forest guard in Pulwama district. Security forces same day killed four militants attempting to infiltrate Poonch district; numerous infiltration attempts may indicate militants seeking to take advantage of inclement weather and annual Hindu pilgrimage to Amarnath cave that diverted security forces’ attention.
Tensions persisted between India and Pakistan as insecurity continued in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), which marked five years without elected government.
Hostile rhetoric continued between India and Pakistan. Answering questions about Pakistan at press briefing, Indian FM S. Jaishankar 8 June said India would not tolerate “cross-border terrorism from Pakistan” and “Pakistan knows what it needs to do” to move bilateral relations forward; regarding objections from Pakistan to new map installed at Indian parliament, Jaishankar retorted “We don’t have hope in Pakistan for understanding [this matter]”. Joint statement late June with U.S. following Indian PM Narendra Modi’s state visit called on Pakistan to prevent terrorist attacks (see India). Indian border security forces 5 and 10 June allegedly shot down drones carrying drugs into Punjab province from Pakistan.
Militant attacks and security operations continued J&K. Security forces 1 June shot dead alleged Pakistani intruder in Jammu’s Samba district and next day killed militant in Rajouri district’s forest. Security forces 13 June killed two militants in Kupwara district. Security forces 14 June foiled infiltration attempt in Jammu’s Poonch sector. Security forces 16 June shot dead five alleged foreign militants near Line of Control in Kupwara district and 27 June killed an alleged Al Badr militant in Kulgam district. In major infiltration attempt, security forces 16 June killed five militants allegedly trying to infiltrate Kupwara district. Pakistan 24 June claimed Indian security forces killed two civilians in Sattwal sector along Line of Control. General Officer Commanding of Chinar Corps 1 June said there was no Afghan Taliban infiltration into Kashmir; his remarks addressed concerns about Taliban or North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) weaponry left in Afghanistan following Taliban’s takeover in 2021.
J&K marked five years without elected state govt. Region 19 June reached five-year anniversary since state govt was dissolved following collapse of ruling coalition’s majority in state assembly; five years marks longest spell of central rule in J&K since peak of militancy in region in period 1990-96. National Conference party leader Omar Abdullah 19 June wrote, “Democracy ends where J&K begins”, while People’s Democratic Party of Kashmir 20 June called it “death anniversary”.
Relations between New Delhi and Islamabad remained acrimonious as India hosted G20 meeting in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), where deadly violence persisted.
India and Pakistan exchanged criticism amid G20 meeting in Srinagar. In first visit by Pakistani FM since 2016, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari 4 May arrived in India for Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Council but did not hold bilateral meetings with his Indian counterpart S. Jaishankar. In their respective addresses to conference, Jaishankar said neglecting menace of terrorism would be “detrimental to our society and interests”, while Bhutto-Zardari warned against “weaponising terrorism for diplomatic point scoring”. Zardari-Bhutto 5 May stated Pakistan is open to dialogue but needs India to “create a conducive environment for talks”, citing India’s decision to revoke J&K’s special autonomy status in 2019 as making engagement “difficult”. In response, Jaishankar said only topic of discussion with Pakistan on Kashmir is about when they would “give up their occupation of Pakistan[-administered] Kashmir.” India 22-24 May hosted G20 working group meeting on tourism in Srinagar, summer capital of Indian-administered Kashmir; Pakistan condemned meeting being held in disputed territory, accusing India of instrumentalising its G20 presidency for political purposes, while China, Türkiye, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Oman also skipped it.
Security operations and militant attacks continued in J&K. Notably, security forces 3 May killed two militants in alleged infiltration attempt in Kupwara district; 4 May killed two Lashkar-e-Tayyaba militants in Baramulla district and claimed to foil plot to attack G20 meeting. Gunfight during security operation near Kashmir’s Line of Control against militants of People’s Anti-Fascist Front (considered to be offshoot of Jaish-e-Mohammad) 5 May killed five Indian security personnel. Security forces 20 May shot dead alleged Pakistani intruder in Poonch district and alleged militant in Mendhar sector. Govt 3 May expanded immunity against arrest to all “armed forces of the Union of India” deployed in J&K and Ladakh.
Pakistan protested India’s plans to host G20 meeting in May in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), while militants conducted deadliest attack since 2021, raising prospect of further attacks around summit.
Tensions persisted between New Delhi and Islamabad ahead of G20 meeting. Pakistan 11 April expressed “strong indignation” over India’s plans to host G20 summit in J&K’s capital Srinagar on 10-12 May, claiming India hoped to divert attention from its suppression of Kashmiris and accusing India of “self-serving measures to perpetuate its illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir”; militants may seek to stage attacks before or during summit of tourism ministers to garner international attention and spoil govt’s ambition to demonstrate its claimed success in restoring peace and order in valley. In response to comments by former J&K governor Satya Pal Malik on 15 April that Feb 2019 Pulwama suicide attack was result of intelligence failures, Pakistani foreign ministry next day said “his disclosures demonstrate how the Indian leadership has habitually used the bogey of terrorism from Pakistan to advance false victimhood narrative and the Hindutva agenda clearly for domestic political gains”; remarks came as opposition lawmakers questioned status of inquiry into attack. Indian border security forces 9 April exchanged fire with Pakistani intruders, claiming to have killed one and arrested two in Poonch district near Line of Control.
Insecurity persisted in J&K as militants staged deadly attack. In deadliest attack since Oct 2021, militants 20 April assaulted army truck in southern Rajouri sector of Kashmir, killing five soldiers and wounding one; attack, for which militants appeared to use NATO ammunition left behind in Afghanistan, cast shadow over G20 meeting next month. Earlier, security forces claimed to have arrested Laskhar-e-Tayyaba sympathiser in Bandipore district on 5 April and two Laskhar-e-Tayyaba militants in Baramulla district on 11 April.
Tensions persisted between India and Pakistan, security operations continued in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), and Hindu Pandits suspended months-long relocation campaign.
Tensions persisted between New Delhi and Islamabad. In its annual 2022 report released 13 March, India’s foreign ministry said “Pakistan continues to sponsor cross border terrorism” against India and “restrict normal trade, connectivity and people-to-people exchanges”; report also claimed no decrease in cross-border terrorism, infiltration and illegal smuggling across Kashmir’s Line of Control and international boundary. Indian security forces 10-11 March intercepted two drones, claiming one was carrying arms to Punjab state’s Gurdaspur district and other was carrying drugs to Punjab state’s Amritsar district. UN high commissioner for human rights 7 March noted “worrying human rights situation in Kashmir”; India’s UN ambassador rejected “unwarranted and factually inaccurate portrayal”, rejecting body’s oversight in “an internal affair”.
Security operations persisted in J&K. Security forces 7 March arrested two suspected The Resistance Front (TRF) associates in Baramulla district. Security forces 12 March claimed to have recovered arms, drugs and bomb in Nowshera sector of Jammu’s Rajouri district, and sophisticated weapons, including rockets, in Handwara district; forces next day located cache of arms in Anantang district. Security forces 14 March arrested alleged Lashkar-e-Tayyaba associate in Sopore district, and next day another suspected TRF associate in Baramulla district.
Kashmiri Pandits suspended relocation campaign, opposition parties called for elections. Kashmiri Pandit employees, who had been agitating for over 300 days demanding relocation to Jammu region following targeted attacks on community, 4 March suspended their protest; protester told media, “We were choked financially and our families suffered a lot”. Security forces 1 March killed militant allegedly responsible for late Feb attack that killed Pandit man in Pulwama district. Meanwhile, former chief minister and National Conference President Farooq Abdullah 16 March led delegation of 13 opposition parties in New Delhi and submitted memorandum to Election Commission calling for early Assembly elections in J&K.
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.
Militants launched first deadly attack on Hindus in years in Jammu region, while acrimony continued between India and Pakistan.
Militants targeted Hindus in brazen attack despite low ebb in violence across Jammu & Kashmir (J&K). In first attack on minority Hindu community members in Jammu region’s Rajouri district in over a decade, militants 1 Jan came down from forested higher reaches to village and fired indiscriminately on three houses, killing four people and injuring seven; explosive left behind by militants next day killed two children in same village. Security forces did not accuse any group of responsibility. Meanwhile, militant attacks across J&K remained at low ebb owing to harsh winter. Notably, militants 1 Jan lobbed grenade at security forces personnel in regional capital Srinagar, injuring one. Two alleged Lashkar-e-Tayyaba militants 15 Jan escaped during security operation in Budgam district but were killed two days later. Militants 22 Jan lobbed grenade in Srinagar, injuring one civilian. Home ministry declared The Resistance Front and People’s Anti-Fascist Front as “[militant] organisations” 5 and 7 Jan, respectively.
Locals protested against govt’s land laws in J&K. Hundreds of political activists 16 Jan protested in Jammu against J&K administration’s ongoing eviction of locals from what has been declared “state land”; protest leader same day said govt had “fiddled” with laws of “erstwhile State of [Jammu and Kashmir]” to “allow people from outside J&K and deprive the residents of their due right to use the land”.
India and Pakistan continued hostile rhetoric. Pakistan’s foreign ministry 4 Jan called on India to end “vile anti-Pakistan propaganda”, accusing Delhi of “brazen involvement in fomenting terrorism on Pakistan’s soil”. Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif 16 Jan called for talks “to resolve our burning points like Kashmir”. India 19 Jan said “we always desire normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan” but there should be no “terror, hostility or violence”. Indian Army Chief Manoj Pande 12 Jan said Feb 2021 ceasefire with Pakistan “is holding well but cross-border support to [militancy] and [militant] infrastructure however remains”; security forces 3 Jan claimed to have killed Pakistani trying to intrude in Punjab state’s Gurdaspur district.
Acrimonious atmosphere continued between India and Pakistan, while onset of winter saw slight reduction in violence in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K).
New Delhi and Islamabad continued tit-for-tat verbal attacks. Pakistan’s newly appointed army chief Asim Munir 3 Dec condemned India’s “highly irresponsible statements”, vowing “to take the fight to the enemy if ever war is imposed on us”. New Delhi 13 Dec condemned visit by sec-gen of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation on 10-12 Dec to Pakistan-administered Kashmir, calling sec-gen “mouthpiece of Pakistan”; Islamabad 15 Dec rejected criticism. Pakistani FM Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari 14 Dec said there was “clear evidence” that India had “planned and supported” June 2021 terror attack in Pakistan’s Lahore city. India’s FM S. Jaishankar 15 Dec accused Pakistan of sheltering Osama bin Laden, calling country “epicentre of terrorism”; Bhutto-Zardari next day responded that bin Laden was dead but “the butcher of Gujarat” was alive, referring to PM Modi, who was chief minister of Gujurat state during bloody anti-Muslim riots in 2002.
Militant attacks and security operations decreased with onset of winter. Security forces 2 Dec claimed to have foiled infiltration attempt by Pakistani militants into Baramulla district’s Uri sector. Unidentified persons 16 Dec shot and killed two civilians in Rajouri district in Jammu region. Security forces 20 Dec claimed to have killed three Laskhar-e-Tayyaba militants in Shopian district. Security forces claimed to have recovered drugs sent across international border from Pakistan to India’s Punjab region via drones on 3, 5 and 6 Dec.
Officials downplayed militancy, as J&K chief introduced unique identification numbers. Minister of state for home 7 Dec told parliament that there were 123 militancy-related incidents in J&K during 2022, resulting in deaths of 31 security forces personnel, 31 civilians and 180 militants. Kashmir’s police chief 11 Dec said there were no top militant commanders left since security forces had killed 44 this year. J&K Lieutenant-Governor Manoj Sinha 12 Dec said administration will roll out eight-digit unique identification number for families in Union Territory “for speedy and transparent implementation of social security schemes”; Peoples Democratic Party President Mehbooba Mufti warned that this was yet another “surveillance tactic”.
India and Pakistan continued mutual reproaches, while security operations and militant attacks persisted in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).
Tensions persisted between New Delhi and Islamabad. After Pakistan’s foreign ministry late Oct protested Indian defence minister’s remarks that “the mission will complete only when Gilgit Baltistan and areas of [Pakistan-administered Kashmir] reunite with India”, Indian PM Narenda Modi 18 Nov said “it is well known that [militant] organisations get money through several sources”, including “state support”. India’s home ministry 8 Nov reported 73 cross-border infiltration attempts in 2021, lowest in five years, and stated ongoing militancy in J&K “is linked with infiltration of [militants] from across the border”. Indian security forces 9 Nov claimed to have shot down drone entering from Pakistan into Punjab’s Ferozepur district.
Security operations and militant attacks continued in J&K despite onset of winter. Security forces continued operations: 1 Nov killed three Lashkar-e-Tayyaba militants in Pulwama district; 3 Nov killed three militants trying to infiltrate border in Poonch district; 11 Nov killed Pakistani Jaish-e-Mohammad militant in Shopian district; 15 Nov arrested four alleged members of armed group The Resistance Front in Srinagar city; 19 Nov killed alleged Pakistani militant infiltrating border in Rajouri district, Jammu region; alleged Lashkar-e-Tayyaba militant was 19 Nov shot dead in police custody in Anantnag district in unclear circumstances, in second such incident since Oct. Militants 3 Nov shot two non-local labourers in Anantnag district; militant fired on two non-local labourers in Anantnag district. India’s northern command chief 22 Nov claimed “82 Pakistani and 53 local terrorists are active” in region, alongside 170 additional unidentified insurgents.
In other important developments. The Resistance Front 13 Nov threatened 21 journalists working for Kashmir’s prominent local English language newspapers and news agency, accusing them of siding with India; at least six journalists shortly afterward announced resignations.
Harsh rhetoric persisted between New Delhi and Islamabad over Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), where deadly localised violence continued amid visit by India’s Home Minister.
India and Pakistan traded tit-for-tat diplomatic barbs. Indian FM Subrahmanyam Jaishankar 1 Oct asserted “No country practices terrorism in the manner that Pakistan does”; Pakistani’s foreign ministry 3 Oct replied “India has been involved in supporting terrorism against Pakistan from its own territory and from other countries in the region”. Pakistani PM Shehbaz Sharif 13 Oct said India “trampled the will of the people of Jammu and Kashmir” and accused New Delhi of holding elections in J&K by power of “the bullet not the ballot”; India responded that Pakistan is “the global epicentre of [militancy]”. India 7 Oct objected to visit by U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan to Pakistan-administered Kashmir, which ambassador referred to as “AJK” – Azad (Free) Jammu Kashmir. In media report published 12 Oct, security agencies claimed 191 drones had entered Indian territory this year, of which seven were shot down.
Insecurity persisted in J&K amid visit by India’s Home Minister. Two bomb blasts late Sept preceded India’s Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s 4-6 Oct visit to J&K, which police 10 Oct attributed to Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Tayyaba; during visit, Shah announced reservation for mountainous Pahari community and accused region’s three most politically-prominent families (Abdullahs, Muftis and Gandhis) of monopolising power without bringing development; he also emphasised abrogation of Kashmir’s semi-autonomous status ushered in era of peace and development. Meanwhile, security forces 2 Oct killed Laskhar-e-Tayyaba militant in Shopian district; 4 Oct killed three Jaish-e-Mohammad and one Laskhar-e-Tayyaba militants in two operations in Shopian district; 9 Oct killed two Laskhar-e-Tayyaba militants in Anantnag district. Militant attack on security check post in Pulwama district 2 Oct killed one security personnel member; killed Kashmiri Hindu in Shopian district 15 Oct, and two non-local labourers in Shopian district 18 Oct.
Diplomatic engagement between India and Pakistan remained tense, while dispute over electoral rights and localised violence persisted in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).Tensions persisted between India and Pakistan. Pakistan’s foreign ministry 5 Sept blamed India for “extra-judicial killing” of Tabarak Hussain, “mentally challenged Pakistani national”, in Aug; Pakistan claimed he inadvertently crossed border, while Indian army says Pakistan sent him to target Indian positions. Addressing Shanghai Cooperation Organisation 16 Sept, India PM Modi indirectly criticised Pakistan for blocking its aid to Afghanistan by denying transit rights. Addressing UN General Assembly 23 Sept, Pakistan PM Sharif said “constructive engagement” with India was dependent on “enabling environment” by reversing Aug 2019 steps in J&K. In third such move, China 15 Sept blocked U.S.-India proposal to add Lashkar-e-Tayyaba’s Sajjad Mir – reportedly wanted for 2008 Mumbai attacks – to UN Security Council’s 1267 sanctions list.Controversy over voting rights fuelled tensions in J&K. Tensions persisted over chief electoral officer’s attempt to grant “anyone who is living ordinarily” right to vote, marking change from pre-2019 policy which permitted only permanent residents to vote. Region’s former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti 6 Sept said non-local labourers and security forces personnel were being enlisted as voters in Baramulla district. As Kashmiri Pandits continued protests and sought transfer outside of Kashmir for safety amid rise in targeted attacks, Mufti 13 Sept accused govt of ignoring Pandits’ grievances and using “arm twisting approach” to “muzzle their voice”. All Migrant (Displaced) Employees Association Kashmir 19 Sept said: “Either the government should provide us proper security in Kashmir Valley or take back its oppressive orders”.Militants attacks and security operations continued in J&K. Militant 2 Sept shot and injured non-local Muslim labourer in Pulwama district. Security forces 6 Sept killed two alleged Hizbul Mujahideen militants in Anantnag district and same day recovered 5kg bomb on outskirts of Srinagar regional capital; 7 Sept killed two alleged Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind militants in Anantnag district, and two alleged Lashkar-e-Tayyaba militants in Shopian district; 12 Sept killed alleged militant in Shopian district; 14 Sept killed two alleged Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind militants on outskirts of Srinagar.
Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) marked three years since India revoked its special status, as controversy persisted over electoral register. Ahead of third anniversary on 5 Aug of India’s revocation of J&K’s special status and arrest of local leaders across political spectrum, govt 4 Aug released data to support its claim that militancy had decreased in last three years. Marking anniversary, Organisation for Islamic Cooperation called for “reversal of all illegal and unilateral actions” by India. In BBC interview, J&K Lt-Governor Manoj Sinha 19 Aug claimed Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of Hurriyat separatist political outfit and Kashmir’s chief cleric, was “neither under house arrest or detained”; Hurriyat refuted claims. Meanwhile, J&K Chief Electoral Officer Hirdesh Kumar 17 Aug announced that “anyone who is living ordinarily” can be “enlisted as a voter in J&K”, marking change from pre-2019 policy which permitted only permanent residents to vote; Kumar said govt expected 2.5mn new voters – marking 30% increase – which sparked outrage as mainstream political parties accused India’s ruling Bhartiya Janata Party of manipulating electoral balance in its favour. In second such act in as many months, China 11 Aug blocked bid by India and U.S. to list Rauf Asghar, deputy chief of Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad and brother of group’s founder, as designated militant at UN Security Council; India’s UN envoy protested decision. Security operations and militant attacks continued in J&K. Operation 5 Aug killed one security force and one militant in Kulgam; 10 Aug killed three LeT militants in Budgam district. Militants 4 Aug hurled grenade at non-local labourers in Pulwama district, killing one, and 12 Aug killed another in Bandipore district; 11 Aug sought to storm army camp in Rajouri district, leaving four militants and two soldiers dead; 13 Aug killed one security personnel in grenade attack in Kulgam district; 14 Aug killed one security force in Srinagar. Militants 17 Aug attacked two Kashmiri Pandits in Shopian district, killing one; Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti (KPSS), group of Pandits living in Kashmir, same day appealed to all Pandits to leave region.
Tensions between India and Pakistan ran high, while militant attacks and security operations persisted in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). Pakistan’s foreign ministry 2 July summoned Indian chargé d’affaires to issue demarche over India’s decision to block access to content on 80 Twitter accounts of Pakistani diplomatic missions at UN and in Iran, Turkey and Egypt. Pakistan’s foreign ministry 7 July rejected Indian defence ministry dossier, which accused Islamabad of “hatching terrorist plots”, calling it “false and fabricated” and attempt to divert international attention from India’s “campaign of state-terrorism and widespread rights violations” in Indian-administered Kashmir. Protests by Kashmiri Pandit (Hindu) govt employees in Kashmir, which began after 12 May killing of Kashmiri Pandit official inside govt office, continued, as protesters demand relocation to Jammu until security situation improves. For second consecutive year, authorities did not list 13 July, observed as Martyrs Day in Kashmir, among official holidays; instead, govt 22 July announced launch of “Har Ghar Tiranga” campaign, calling on every household in Kashmir to hoist India’s tricolour flag ahead of India’s Independence Day on 15 Aug. J&K’s Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha 2 July said “the process of preparing fresh electoral rolls has been started”, in sign assembly elections will go ahead; dates yet to be confirmed. People’s Alliance of Gupkar Declaration, J&K opposition coalition, 4 July announced they would contest polls together. Former J&K Chief Minister and head of National Conference party Farooq Abdullah 3 July said “the caravan of militancy will not end” unless govt wins hearts of people in J&K. Meanwhile, militant attacks and counter-insurgency operations continued in J&K. Security forces 8 July claimed to have stopped an infiltration bid by Pakistani militants in Kupwara district, killing one militant and one security personnel; 11 July killed two suspected Jaish-e-Mohammed militants in Awantipora. Militants 12 and 17 July killed two security personnel at check posts in Srinagar and Pulwama districts.
Tensions remained high in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), where militants launched targeted attacks, notably on Hindu minority community, and clashed with security forces. J&K’s Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha 6 June claimed that militancy in Kashmir was in its last stage, blaming recent increase of targeted killings on Pakistan. During two-day visit to J&K, India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh 16 June said “Pakistan continuously tries to disturb peace in the country” by “bleeding India with a thousand cuts”. China 18 June blocked proposal by U.S. and India to list militant group Lashkar-e-Tayyaba’s deputy chief under UN Security Council’s ISIL (Da’esh) Al-Qaida and Sanctions Committee. In J&K, Hindus continued to be at high risk of violent attacks. Notably, militants 2 June killed Hindu employee at bank in Kulgam district, while killing three other Hindus that week; govt 3 June rejected demand of Kashmiri Pandit employees to be relocated outside Kashmir Valley until region is stable but allowed for postings to relatively safer districts under same division. Meanwhile, militant attacks and security operations continued in J&K. Notably, militants 1 June shot civilian in Shopian district; 2 June killed one security personnel in bomb blast in Shopian district and killed one migrant labourer in Budgam district; 18 June killed off-duty senior Kashmiri police in Pulwama district. Security forces 4 June killed alleged Hizbul Mujahideen commander in Anantnag district; 6-7 June killed three suspected Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militants in Baramulla and Kupwara districts; in Shopian, 7 June arrested four militants allegedly responsible for bomb blast and killed suspected Hizbul Mujahideen militant; 11 June killed four alleged militants in Kulgam and Pulawama districts; 12-13 June killed three LeT militants in Srinagar regional capital; 14-27 June killed 15 alleged militants in Kulgam, Anatnag, Kupwara, Pulwama and Sopore districts, including two alleged Pakistanis who security forces claimed were sent to attack annual Hindu pilgrimage. Outraged by anti-Muslim remarks made by India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) officials (see India), Kashmiri Muslims 10 June protested across Kashmir valley. Govt 14 June announced more than 300 educational institutions run by Falah-e-Aam Trust, affiliate of banned Jamaat-e-Islami, had been shut down.
Tensions rose after release of report seen as favouring Hindu constituency in proposed revised electoral constituencies for Jammu and Kashmir (J&K); militant violence across J&K continued. Pakistan’s foreign ministry 25 May summoned Indian chargé d’affaires to condemn two consecutive life sentences on prominent Kashmiri separatist leader Yasin Malik in terrorism funding case. Delimitation Commission tasked with carving out new constituencies in J&K 5 May submitted final report: proposes to give six assembly seats to Hindu-dominated Jammu region and one to Muslim-majority Kashmir valley, taking total number of assembly seats from 83 to 90; move would skew electoral balance in favour of Jammu and provide advantage for ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, electorally strong in Hindu-majority Jammu region. Kashmiri political parties unanimously condemned proposals, called commission biased and tool to disempower people of Kashmir. Pakistan’s foreign ministry 5 May conveyed categorical rejection of report. Meanwhile, militant attacks and counter-insurgency operations continued unabated in J&K. Notably, bomb blast 2 May injured two security forces personnel in Pulwama district; militants 7 May shot dead policeman in regional capital Srinagar; militants 13 May killed policeman in Pulwama district. Kashmir Tigers militants 12 May also entered govt office in Budgam district and shot dead Hindu revenue official. Following attack, Kashmiri govt employees protested, threatened to migrate again if govt does not provide them security and demanded transfers to Jammu region until security situation improved in Kashmir. Militant grenade attack on new liquor store 17 May killed one and injured three in Baramulla district; militant groups banned liquor stores in Kashmir valley in early 1990s, as they were seen as affront to local religious sentiments; security forces 19 May claimed to have arrested four alleged Lashkar-e-Tayyaba militants and associate linked to attack. Security forces 6 May killed three suspected Hizbul Mujahideen militants; 10 May killed two militants in Anantnag district; 11 and 13 May killed three suspected militants in Bandipora district. Security forces also claimed that a 22-year-old shopkeeper was killed 15 May during security operation in Shopian district; family members denied version, said police were “making up stories to save the personnel behind the cold-blooded murder”.
Indian PM Modi and Pakistan’s new PM Sharif exchanged conciliatory messages, while militant attacks and security operations persisted in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). Indian PM Narendra Modi 12 April congratulated newly elected Pakistani PM Shehbaz Sharif, calling for “constructive engagement”; Sharif 17 April responded by urging resolution of Kashmir dispute in “interest of mutual peace and prosperity”. Previously, at “Fourth Annual U.S.-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue”, sides 11 April “strongly condemned any use of terrorist proxies and cross-border terrorism” and called on Pakistan to take “irreversible action” to ensure its territory is not used to launch terror attacks; Islamabad 13 April rejected “unwarranted” reference to “some non-existent and dismantled entities”. India’s Minister of Home Affairs Nityanand Rai 6 April told parliament militants have killed 14 Hindus, including four Kashmiri Pandits, since govt repealed Article 370 in Aug 2019. India’s National Investigative Agency 8 April filed charges against 25 people accused of targeted killings in Kashmir and blamed Pakistan-based terrorist organisations for “deep-rooted conspiracy to spread terrorism” and radicalise youth in J&K. India’s Ministry of Home Affairs 8 April designated son of Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) chief Hafiz Saeed as terrorist under Unlawful (Activities) Prevention Act; 14 April also designated Al-Umar-Mujahideen founder Mushtaq Ahmad Zarg as terrorist. Counter-insurgency operations and militant attacks continued in J&K. Security operation 9 April killed two alleged LeT militants in Anantnag and Kulgam districts; 10 April killed two alleged Pakistani militants in Srinagar district; 11 April killed two militants in Kulgam district; 14 April killed four alleged LeT militants in Shopian district; 16 April killed security personnel in Anantnag district; 21 April killed alleged LeT commander in Baramulla district. Militants 4 April killed security force in Srinagar; 15 April killed village level elected representative in Baramulla district; 18 April killed security force personnel in Pulwama district. Security forces 1 and 3 April arrested three alleged militant associates of Jaish-e-Muhammad in Pulwama district and five alleged LeT associates in Bandipora district.
Inadvertent Indian missile strike sparked tensions between Delhi and Islamabad; militant attacks persisted in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K). Indian air force 9 March fired accidental missile into Punjab province’s Mian Channu district, damaging civilian property. Pakistan’s military next day condemned “flagrant violation”. India’s Defence Ministry 11 March admitted “technical malfunction led to accidental firing of a missile”. Pakistan’s National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf 11 March demanded closer investigation, India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh 15 March said review “is being conducted in the wake of this incident”. Organisation of Islamic Cooperation foreign minister’s meeting 22-23 March in Islamabad invited detained Chairman of separatist All Parties Hurriyat Conference in Kashmir Mirwaiz Umar Farooq to attend. Indian Foreign Ministry 17 March criticised invitation, Pakistan’s foreign office 18 March rejected India’s “baseless” objection, said India could not claim J&K was its “internal matter”. Meanwhile, concerns about security situation in J&K came to fore as opposition parties 14 March demanded answers from Indian govt about budgetary allocations for J&K; one parliamentarian noted “73 per cent allocation of the budget has been earmarked for law and order. It shows that the situation has not improved”. Amid rising militancy, India’s Home Affairs Ministry 2 March announced revival of Village Defence Groups; Kashmir valley-based parties 3 March criticised decision, former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti 3 March tweeted “J&K is far from any semblance of normalcy”. Counter-insurgency operations and militant attacks persisted, including return to earlier trend of targeting village-level elected representatives. Notably militants 2-11 March killed three heads of village, two in Kulgam district’s Adoora village, one in regional capital Srinagar. Other violence continued: militants 6 march killed two civilians in Srinagar; 8 March reportedly launched bomb blast, which killed one in Jammu region’s Udhampur town; 12 March killed security forces personnel in Shopian district; 20 March killed Kashmiri man in Budgam district and street vendor in Pulwama district. Meanwhile, security forces 10 March killed two alleged Laskhar-e-Tayyaba militants in Pulwama, same day killed alleged Pakistani in Srinagar; 11 March killed four militants in security operations in Pulwama, Kupwara, Ganderbal districts, and 16 March killed three militants in Srinagar.
Tensions between India and Pakistan ran high, while opposition rejected proposed delimitations for new electoral constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir. Indian army chief 3 Feb said ceasefire along Kashmir’s Line of Control (LoC) was holding because India had “negotiated from a position of strength”; Pakistani army next day said claim was “misleading” and Islamabad only agreed to ceasefire due to “concerns for the safety of the people of Kashmir living on both sides of the LoC”. Following PM Khan’s visit to China 3-6 Feb, China and Pakistan 6 Feb stated that Kashmir dispute “should be properly and peacefully resolved based on the UN Charter”. In response, India’s external affairs ministry 9 Feb said that Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and Ladakh “have been, are, and will always remain integral and inalienable parts of India” and expressed concern regarding China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects “that were in India’s territory that has been illegally occupied by Pakistan”. Speaking at annual meeting of UN Counter-Terrorism Committee, Pakistan’s UN Representative Umer Siddique 15 Feb urged UN Security Council to hold accountable “masterminds” who supported, financed and sponsored cross-border terrorist attacks. Meanwhile, political tensions rose in J&K when delimitation commission tasked with carving out new constituencies 4 Feb submitted new interim report, which proposed allocating seven new seats to Jammu region and only one to Kashmir, thus tilting power balance against Muslim-majority region. Opposition parties, including Kashmir’s National Conference party and People’s Democratic Party, immediately rejected report on grounds that it was unfair to Kashmir and Muslim minority. Authorities continued to harass journalists; notably, court 1 Feb directed police to arrest journalist Gowhar Geelani for endangering lives through social media activity; police 4 Feb arrested Kashmiri journalist Fahad Shah for “anti-national” social media posts. Meanwhile, security operations and militant attacks including trend of targeted attacks on policemen persisted. Notably, Hizbul Mujahideen militant 1 Feb shot Kashmiri police officer in Shopian district. Security forces 12 Feb arrested four alleged Al Badr militants and three associates in Baramulla district. State Investigation Agency 16 Feb arrested ten alleged supporters of Jaish-e-Muhammad in raids throughout Kashmir.
Tensions continued in Jammu and Kashmir as authorities killed over a dozen militants during security operations and stifled dissent. Indian army 1 Jan accused Pakistani army of violating Feb 2021 ceasefire agreement by carrying out Border Action Team attack inside Kashmir near Line of Control in Kupwara district, said it had killed one Pakistani “inflitrator”. India 5 Jan lodged “strong protest” with Pakistan over infiltration attempts, smuggling of arms, ammunition and narcotics across border. Despite harshest months of winter, security operations and militant attacks continued unabated in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). Security forces 1 Jan killed alleged Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) militant in Kupwara district; 3 Jan killed two alleged LeT militants in regional capital Srinagar; 4 Jan killed two suspected LeT militants in Kulgam district; 5 Jan killed three alleged Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) militants in Pulwama district; 6-7 Jan killed three alleged JeM militants in Budgam district; 10 Jan killed two militants in Kulgam district. Security operation 12 Jan also left one suspected JeM militant and one police officer killed. Police 6 Jan claimed to have found hybrid terror group of four militants in Srinagar; 15 Jan claimed to have arrested three militants in Bandipora district in north. Govt continued to stifle media: police 8 Jan arrested reporter Sajjad Gul at his home in Bandipora district for violating Public Safety Act day after he uploaded video on Twitter of family of slain militant expressing anti-India slogans. Local govt 15 Jan helped group of alleged journalists take over Kashmir Press Club and appoint themselves as new management body; central govt 17 Jan cancelled club’s registration and handed building over to estates department. Meanwhile, concerns and criticism over delimitation of electoral constituencies continued. Authorities 1 Jan put under house arrest leaders of all five political parties affiliated with People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration after they had announced planning protest against delimitation commission draft proposal.
In Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), militants increasingly targeted police while plans to change number of constituencies sparked controversy. In J&K, security operations and militant attacks showed no signs of abating despite coming winter. Security forces 8 Dec killed three militants in Shopian district; 12 Dec killed alleged Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) militant in Awantipora district; next day killed two militants in regional capital Srinagar; 15-16 Dec killed militant in Pulwama district and two in Kulgam district; 19 Dec killed alleged Pakistani Lashkar-e-Tayyaba militant on outskirts of Srinagar. Security forces 29 Dec claimed to have killed six JeM militants in Anantang and Kulgram districts. Gunfight 31 Dec killed three JeM militants and injured four security personnel in Pantha Chowk area. Militants launched various attacks; notably, militants 10 Dec killed two police officers in Bandipora district; 13 Dec killed three police officers and injured 14 more during attack on police bus on outskirts of Srinagar; 22 Dec killed policer officer in Anantang district. Latest incidents reflect police most targeted force during 2021 with official data released mid-Dec noting that half of 40 security personnel killed in J&K this year were police officers; data shows major increase in proportion of police killed compared to previous years – in 2020 just 16 police officers out of 60 security personnel killed that year, reflecting deepening Kashmiri alienation. Meanwhile, delimitation commission, tasked with carving out new constituencies in J&K, 20 Dec proposed increasing number of constituencies by six seats in Jammu and one in Kashmir , which would bring them to a total of 43 and 47 respectively; main local parties, National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), strongly opposed draft recommendations. PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti 18 Dec said she has “no faith in the fairness of the Commission. The Commission is [ruling party] BJP’s Commission”, adding: “They want to carve out constituencies to suit their political interests”, reflecting broader Kashmiri fears that planned changes aim at making Jammu more powerful. Security situation at Line of Control was relatively calm during month; landmine blast 20 Dec however severely injured border security personnel in Poonch district, Jammu region.
Relations between India and Pakistan remained tense as sides exchanged hostile rhetoric, while militant attacks and security operations continued in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K). Pakistan’s National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf 2 Nov declined invitation from India to join regional meeting regarding Afghan security situation, stating “a spoiler cannot be a peacemaker”. India’s external ministry 8 Nov summoned senior Pakistani diplomat to protest killing by Pakistan’s naval security of Indian fisherman previous day near international maritime boundary line in Arabian Sea off India’s Gujarat state. Pakistan’s foreign ministry 18 Nov condemned alleged extrajudicial killings of five Kashmiris previous day in Kashmir, said at least 30 Kashmiris had been killed in “fake encounters or so-called cordons and search operations” since 1 Oct, condemned “inhuman and callous” actions of Indian govt for not allowing families of those killed to hold proper burials. India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh 20 Nov said “new and powerful” India will counter all Pakistani efforts to “destabilize peace”; Pakistan’s foreign ministry next day criticised “irresponsible, provocative and gratuitous remarks”. In J&K, security operations and militant attacks continued. In controversial security operation, four persons were killed 15 Nov in regional capital Srinagar, including two civilians, who police claimed were militant sympathisers; relatives contested police claims that civilians were militants and held protests that police forcibly disrupted, sparking wider protests throughout region. Militants 8 Nov killed policeman and Muslim salesman in Srinagar; security forces 11 Nov killed three militants in separate operations in Kulgam and Srinagar districts; separate security operations in Kulgam district 17 Nov killed five militants; security forces 20 Nov killed alleged Hizbul Mujahideen commander in Kulgam district. Meanwhile, authorities 18 Nov arrested three youth from Pampore in Kashmir for allegedly attempting to cross Line of Control into Pakistan.
Militant group stepped up attacks on non-Muslim migrants in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), triggering mass arrests and heightening tension between India and Pakistan. Militant group The Resistance Front (TRF) claimed responsibility for series of attacks on non-local, non-Muslim migrants, reviving memories of early 1990s mass exodus of Hindu Kashmiri Pandit community from Kashmir Valley. Notably, TRF claimed responsibility for killings of two school teachers 7 Oct. In response to attacks, Indian security forces detained at least 700 Kashmiris for questioning. Pakistan’s foreign office 11 Oct strongly condemned “arbitrary arrests and detentions” of Kashmiris by Indian forces in J&K; Pakistan’s UN representative 18 Oct declared it “one of the biggest crackdowns in the disputed territory”. Indian army chief MM Naravane 10 Oct said Feb ceasefire agreement respected only until July but has since given way to “sporadic incidents”. Pakistan’s Navy 19 Oct claimed to have blocked attempt by Indian submarine to enter Pakistani waters. Meanwhile, counter-insurgency operations and other militant attacks continued in J&K. Security forces 1 Oct killed alleged Lashkar-e-Tayyaba militant in Shopian district; 8 Oct allegedly killed Lashkar-e-Tayyaba militant in Srinagar; 12 Oct killed five alleged TRF militants in Shopian district; 13 Oct killed alleged Jaish-e-Mohammad commander in Tral town, Pulwama district; 15 Oct killed two suspected militants in Pulwama and Srinagar districts; 16 Oct killed two alleged militants in Pampore area; 20 Oct killed four alleged militants in Shopian and Kulgam districts. Militants 2 Oct killed two civilians in Srinagar; 5 Oct killed taxi driver in Bandipora district; 11-19 Oct killed nine soldiers in Jammu’s Poonch district; 16, 17 Oct killed four migrant labourers in Kulgam and Pulawama districts. New militant group, People’s Anti-Fascists Front, took credit for Poonch attack.
Tensions between India and Pakistan and within Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) continued to run high, including over controversial burial of Kashmiri leader. In virtual UN General Assembly, Pakistan PM Khan 24 Sept condemned rights violations in J&K, including forcible burial of prominent Kashmiri leader. In J&K, death of 92-year-old Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani – who had been in prison and under house arrest since 2010 – on 1 Sept sparked tensions after family alleged that Indian police hurriedly buried Geelani in early hours next day, denying him burial in line with his wishes. Fearing protests and clashes, Indian govt 1-3 Sept imposed communications blackout and curfew in Kashmir valley. In Jammu, traders 22 Sept went on strike to protest govt’s “anti-trade” policies. J&K National Conference party leader Omar Abdullah 1 Sept asked Indian govt to clarify whether it still considered Taliban to be terrorist organisation after it contacted Taliban officials in Qatar’s capital Doha day before. Taliban leader Anas Haqqani same day said Kashmir was not part of their jurisdiction; Taliban 3 Sept however said it is group’s right “to raise our voice for Muslims in Kashmir”. J&K Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader Mehbooba Mufti 19 Sept accused ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of using threats posed by Afghan Taliban and Pakistan to gain votes. Indian Army official 20 Sept said Afghan militants were unlikely to extend operations to Kashmir, said he focused on presence of around 60-70 Pakistani militants seeking to motivate local youth to take up arms in Kashmir. Militant attacks and security operations continued in J&K. Notably, militants 12 Sept killed police officer in regional capital Srinagar; 17 Sept killed police officer and migrant labourer in separate incidents in Kulgam district. Security forces 12 Sept killed militant in Rajouri district. Delhi Police Special Cell 14 Sept arrested six men for allegedly planning terror attacks across country, said preparation for attacks conducted in Pakistan and at least two of those arrested received training by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence.
Pakistan-India tensions ran high amid regional security concerns over Afghanistan and anniversary of India’s revocation of special status for Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). India, as UN Security Council (UNSC) president, 6, 17 Aug held meetings on security developments in Afghanistan, during which India’s External Affairs Minister Jaishankar 17 Aug told UNSC Pakistani-based militant groups operating with “impunity and encouragement”; Islamabad denied allegations, protested India’s decision to deny requests to attend UNSC meetings. Pakistani FM Shah Mahmood Qureshi 12 Aug blamed Indian intelligence for 14 July attack that killed ten Chinese workers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. On two-year anniversary of end of J&K special constitutional status, Pakistan’s foreign ministry 5 Aug summoned India’s High Commissioner to Islamabad to register “unequivocal rejection of India’s illegal and unilateral actions since 5 August” in J&K; People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration, J&K opposition coalition, same day held protests in J&K while Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) celebrated anniversary of revocation. Political and religious leaders from Kargil and Ladakh regions 1 Aug met and rejected union territory status, demanding statehood and safeguards against outsiders buying land or obtaining jobs; govt 10 Aug told parliament two people only had purchased property in J&K since Aug 2019. Counter-insurgency operations and militant attacks continued. Police 14 Aug claimed to have foiled terrorist attack planned for following day (India’s Independence Day), arrested four alleged Jaish-e-Mohammed militants. Security forces 3 and 7 Aug killed two alleged Lashkar-e-Tayyaba militants in Bandipora and Budgam districts. Clashes between militants and security forces 6 Aug left two alleged militants dead in Rajouri district, 12 Aug killed five in Kulgam district including two civilians, and 17 Aug left one security personnel and one militant dead in Rajouri. Militants 3 and 7 Aug killed two police officers in Srinagar city and Kulgam; 9 Aug killed BJP member and wife in Anantnag district; 19 Aug killed leader of pro-BJP Apni party leader in Kulgam. Series of grenade attacks in Rajouri, Handwara and Baramulla districts 13 Aug, 16 Aug killed two including two-year-old.
Tensions remained elevated between Pakistan and India, while opposition parties in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) called for restoration of statehood ahead of local assembly elections. Pakistani National Security Advisor Moeed Yusuf 4 July said backchannel contacts had been abandoned due to New Delhi’s refusal to reverse Aug 2019 revoking of J&K’s special status; Yusuf same day blamed Indian intelligence for 23 June car bombing in Pakistan’s Lahore city. India External Affairs Minister Jaishankar 18 July said India was responsible for keeping Pakistan “under the lens” of inter-govt agency Financial Action Task Force (FATF); Pakistani FM Shah Mahmood Qureshi 19 July accused India of “manipulating” FATF for “narrow political designs”. Meanwhile, counter-insurgency operations and militant attacks continued in J&K. Notably, security forces 2 July killed five militants in Pulwama district; 7 July killed alleged Hizbul Mujahideen commander in Kupwara district; 8 July killed four militants in separate operations in Kulgram and Pulwama districts; 10 July killed three militants in Anantnag district; 14 July killed three militants in Pulwama district; 16 July killed two militants in Srinagar regional capital. Indian army 8 July claimed it killed two suspected Pakistani terrorists during alleged infiltration bid in Rajouri district that left two soldiers dead. Security forces 16-31 July killed at least ten militants in Srinagar city and Baramulla, Bandipora, Pulwama and Kulgam districts; militants 27 July killed civilian in Srinagar. Tensions persisted over J&K’s statehood leading up to assembly elections. People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration, J&K opposition coalition which includes National Conference and People’s Democratic Party, 5 July demanded restoration of J&K’s statehood before assembly elections. Delimitation Commission, tasked with carving out new constituencies in J&K, 6-9 July visited J&K and indicated that New Delhi planned to go ahead with elections, set to take place within 6-8 months. In Pakistan-administered Kashmir, PM Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party 25 July won Azad Jammu and Kashmir elections; poll violence left two PTI workers dead.
Amid ongoing tensions between Pakistan and India over Line of Control (LoC, dividing Pakistan and Indian-administered Kashmir), violence persisted in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). While visiting J&K, India’s army chief General Naravane 3 June said: “The onus of making sure that the ceasefire remains is on Pakistan”. Pakistani PM Imran Khan next day said Pakistan was ready to hold talks if New Delhi provided “a road map” for reversing 2019 actions that revoked J&K special constitutional status. Militant attacks continued in J&K. Militants 2 June shot dead ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) politician in Pulwama district’s Tral town; 17 June killed police officer in Srinagar city; 12 June killed two police officers in Baramulla district; 22 June killed police officer and civilian in Srinagar; 26 June killed one civilian and injured three in grenade attack on security forces; 28 June shot dead police officer, wife and daughter in Pulwama district. Grenade explosion at bus stand 6 June also injured seven people in Pulwama. Meanwhile, police 3 June killed detainee inside counter-insurgency police camp in Tral; police claimed detainee had attempted to take officer’s rifle; detainee’s mother alleged police tortured her son. Security forces 16 June killed suspected militant in Srinagar’s Nowgam area; 20 June killed three alleged militants in Baramulla district, and 25 June killed another suspected militant in Shopian district. Military bases put on high alert after 26 June twin explosions on air force station 14km from Pakistan border, in Jammu, which left two injured; drone attack suspected. In first meeting with pro-India J&K political parties since Aug 2019, Indian PM Modi 24 June said J&K assembly elections will be held after completing delimitation process; in response, opposition National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party called for restoration of J&K’s statehood before polls.
Pakistan and India traded blame for breaking ceasefire along Line of Control (LoC, dividing Pakistan and Indian-administered Kashmir); militant attacks continued in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). Pakistan and India held each other responsible for first violation of 25 Feb agreement reaffirming support for 2003 ceasefire along Kashmir’s LoC and international border; Pakistani PM Imran Khan 30 May said normalising ties with India would be “major betrayal” to people of Kashmir. According to Indian Border Security (BSF), Pakistan troops 3 May opened fire along international border in J&K’s Samba district; Pakistan’s foreign ministry same day lodged protest with India over BSF troops crossing and firing mortars along LoC in Sialkot’s Charwa Sector; no casualties reported on either side. India’s BSF 6 May killed alleged intruder and 18 May arrested another in alleged infiltration attempt across international border in Samba district. India 15 May accused Islamabad of using drones to deliver weapons into J&K. UN General Assembly President Volkan Bozkır 27 May said India and Pakistan should “refrain” from altering status of Kashmir; Indian foreign ministry next day called remarks “misleading and prejudiced”. Counter-insurgency operations and militant attacks continued in J&K throughout month. Security forces 4 and 6 May killed five suspected militants in Baramulla and Shopian districts in separate incidents; 11 and 17 May killed five alleged militants in separate incidents in Anantnag district and on outskirts of regional capital Srinagar. Grenade attack 7 May wounded three paramilitary soldiers and civilian in Srinagar. Kashmiri separatist leader and Tehreek-i-Hurriyat chairman Muhammad Ashraf Khan Sehrai 5 May died in custody; Sehrai, 78, had been jailed since his arrest in July 2020 under Public Safety Act; umbrella group of separatist parties, All Parties Hurriyat Conference, 5 May accused prison authorities of denying him timely medical assistance; police 15 May detained two of Sehrai’s sons in Srinagar after participants at his funeral in Kupwara district raised pro-separatist slogans on 6 May. Amid COVID-19 spread, local authorities 6 May requested doctors no longer speak with media, and directed oxygen manufacturing units to stop deliveries to NGOs and private users on account of shortages in hospitals.
Ceasefire continued to hold along Line of Control (LoC, dividing Pakistan and Indian-administered Kashmir), while insecurity persisted inside Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). India-Pakistan relations seemed to ease as details on backchannel talks emerged and both sides respected LoC ceasefire. After Islamabad 31 March announced resumption of trade ties with India, suspended since Aug 2019, Pakistan’s PM Khan 1 April backtracked and 4 April said there would be “no normalisation of relations with India until it reversed its illegal actions” in J&K. Media report 23 April indicated Pakistan expects India to take first step in creating “enabling environment” for dialogue, for example by releasing political prisoners, easing movement, or reducing military presence. United Arab Emirates (UAE) 14 April confirmed for first time their mediation role in Feb agreement in which India and Pakistan pledged to respect ceasefire along LoC. U.S. National Intelligence Council 7 April warned India and Pakistan may stumble into large-scale war neither side wants, “especially following a terrorist attack that the Indian government judges to be significant”. Inside J&K, attack on ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader 1 April killed one police officer. Security forces next day killed three militants in Pulwama district, including two allegedly involved in BJP leader attack. Anti-India protests erupted in response to operation, injuring at least four civilians. Militants 9 April shot dead soldier in Anantnag district. Security forces 11 April killed five militants in Anantnag and Shopian districts. Militants same day killed civilian in Budgam district. Police 13 April arrested two alleged militants and three alleged militant sympathisers in Kupwara district; authorities next day arrested alleged militant and three alleged sympathisers in Kulgram district, and alleged militant in Budgam district 24 April. Police 15-16 April arrested and fired female special police officer for “glorifying terrorism” and “obstructing” security operation in Kulgram district, and arrested teacher in Bandipora district for allegedly supporting Laskhar-e-Tayyaba group. J&K police chief Vijay Kumar early April advised journalists to avoid live media coverage of security operations against militants or protests; J&K’s press club responded that “any such attack on press freedom and journalism is highly distressful”.