India-Pakistan (Kashmir)

CrisisWatch India-Pakistan (Kashmir)

Unchanged Situation

Militant activity remained at low ebb in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), while mandate of grassroots body of representatives expired as new regional elections remained in doubt. 

Militant attacks and security operations remained at low ebb due to winter. Security forces and militants 3 Jan engaged in gun battle in Kulgam district. Security forces 4 Jan arrested Hizbul Mujahideen militant from New Delhi. Security forces 5 Jan killed alleged Lashkar-e-Tayyaba militant in Shopian district. Authorities 21 Jan arrested juvenile harbouring militants. During annual press conference, India’s army chief 11 Jan claimed “increase in terrorism” in last five-six months in J&K’s Rajouri and Poonch districts, describing it as “one area our adversaries have been active in”; he claimed security forces killed 45 militants in last three years in area, while militants killed seven soldiers in Kashmir valley and twenty in Rajouri-Poonch area in same period. Security forces 27 Jan busted module of cross-border arms smuggling and arrested five militant associates in Kupwara district. 

Terms of grassroots political representatives expired. Mandate of 28,000 grassroots representatives elected in 2018 to first-ever three-tier system of representation in J&K officially ended on 9 Jan after completion of five-year term, bringing end to last semblance of political representation in region; calls continued for regional assembly election to be held this year, last of which was held in 2014, but no date has been set. 

Govt banned two separatist organisations. Ministry of Home Affairs 27 Dec declared Muslim League Jammu Kashmir “an unlawful association” for five years under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, accusing it of seeking to establish “Islamic rule in J&K”. Ministry 31 Dec declared Tehreek-e-Hurriyat unlawful for five years under same law, alleging “terror activities to fuel secessionism in J&K”. 

In other important developments. India’s Border Security Force 20 Jan seized consignment of arms and ammunition smuggled by drone, allegedly from Pakistan, in Punjab district. India 13 Jan protested UK High Commissioner to Islamabad’s visit to Pakistan-administered Kashmir, asserting “such infringement of India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity is unacceptable”. Pakistan’s FM 25 Jan claimed “credible evidence” of links between Indian agents and 2023 killings of two Pakistanis in Pakistan; India rejected allegation.

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