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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.
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