The Indian Army on Tuesday moved an entire brigade into South Kashmir as part of operation ‘Calm Down’, to clear out protestors and militants from the region. However, the troops have been instructed to use minimum force, according to PTI. The soldiers are being assisted by state police as well as the Central Reserve Police Force in clearing road blocks put up by protestors as well as conducting search operations.
The decision to deploy the additional forces was taken after intelligence reports claimed that people armed with stones and petrol bombs were patrolling regional roads leading to the National Highway and preventing people from moving towards Srinagar, PTI said. The news agency added that around 100 militants had reportedly crossed into South Kashmir.
The region’s four districts – Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama and Shopian – have been the worst affected by the crisis since violence in the state began after Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani was killed on July 8.
Other developments in the Valley
Bakr-Eid celebrations across the Valley were affected by violence as two civilians were killed and dozens of others were injured in clashes with security forces. All major mosques and shrines in the region were shut on Eid, including the famous Hazratbal Shrine in Srinagar.
In Kashmir's Poonch district, the bodies of four militants were recovered during search operations following an encounter that ended after three days. The shootout began early on Sunday after law enforcement agencies raided a government building.
In the UN
Separately, New Delhi told the United Nations that Kashmir cannot be compared with Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. A statement by the Ministry of External Affairs said that while the Indian state was governed a democratically elected adminstration, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir “has seen a Pakistani diplomat arbitrarily appointed as its head”.
Eighty-two people have died and thousands more have been affected by violence and the shutdown of normal life in the state, where protests have lasted for more than two months. The situation has also led to a deterioration in ties between India and Pakistan as India has alleged Islamabad’s interference in the issue, and Pakistan has called for plebiscites in the region.