Indian troops gun down Kashmiri man in occupied valley
SRINAGAR: Indian forces shot dead a civilian in Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) on Sunday, residents said, as authorities tightened security across the disputed territory for a visit by an Indian minister.
The victim, Shahid Ahmad, a milk seller in the southern Kashmir Valley, is the 12th civilian killed this month, said AFP.
New Delhi has about 500,000 troops and paramilitaries in the IIOJK seeking to contain a resistance movement for independence or the region’s merger with Pakistan.
Police claimed the man was hit in a “crossfire” near a police paramilitary camp in the village of Zainapora and that the incident was being investigated.
Villagers told AFP the man had been fatally shot without provocation.
Amit Shah, India’s home minister and effective deputy to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been in IIOJK since Saturday, adding to security concerns.
It is Shah’s first trip to the Himalayan region since New Delhi cancelled Kashmir’s semi-autonomy in August 2019 and placed it under direct rule. His visit follows a series of targeted killings in the valley.
Sandbag bunkers have been erected across Kashmir’s main city of Srinagar and snipers positioned on rooftops around the building where Shah is staying.
Police have in recent days impounded hundreds of motorbikes in the city and intensified checks on pedestrians including women and children. India’s chief of defence staff General Bipin Rawat said security monitoring was being intensified to thwart attacks.
Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since their independence in 1947.
Pakistan condemns killing spree in Kashmir
Pakistan strongly condemned the killing of the Kashmir man, terming it a “cold blood” murder, said Radio Pakistan.
“Indian occupation forces reportedly killed a Kashmiri man, Shahid Ahmad, in cold blood while he was crossing a barricade in the Zainapora area of Shopian in IIOJK,” said the Pakistan Foreign Office (FO) in a statement.
“His tragic picture, as carried by the media, is reflective of India’s ongoing barbarity in the IIOJK that must jolt the world’s conscience,” read the statement.
“Unfortunately, Kashmiris are forced to live in an environment of perpetual fear and intimidation under Indian occupation and tyranny, while New Delhi continues to peddle its fabricated propaganda of normalcy in the world’s most militarized zone,” it added.
“India must understand that the bogey of terrorism that it created to justify its atrocities in the occupied territory has been busted,” the FO added.
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