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Islamabad

April 23, 2018

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Developments in Kashmir

Coming as a shock for Indian forces, it has been reported that a youth from eastern India's Assam's Hojai district, Qamer Uz Zaman, has joined Hizbul Mujahideen in the Indian Held Kashmir. A picture of Zaman with an automatic rifle has also gone viral in social media. Police said that Zaman left for Kashmir three years back and was running a garment shop there. Assam DGP Mukesh Sahay said that the state police, along with its Jammu and Kashmir counterpart, was investigating the matter. "Police are looking into the credentials of the person. So far, we are not in a position to share further details as the investigation is still underway," Sahay said. On the other hand, Hojai superintendent of police Ankur Jain said that Zaman did not contact his family for the last four to five months, prompting the family members to lodge a complaint with the police.

Is he the only one to rise against Indian atrocities in the Valley? An Indian Army man who had gone missing from south Kashmir earlier March has also joined the Hizbul Mujahideen group, police officials say. Mir Idrees Sultan, who was posted in the Indian Army's Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JAKLI) regiment, joined the group, a police official said. The official said Mir had gone missing from Shopian and joined the group along with two locals who had also been missing.

Meanwhile, held Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti has asked the security forces to ensure that standard operating procedures are followed and collateral damage avoided while dealing with security situations. "The chief minister impressed upon the officers dealing with security situation to ensure that collateral damage is avoided and all the standard operating procedures (SoPs) in this regard are strictly adhered to," an official spokesman said. The chief minister was reviewing the overall situation in the Valley in a high-level meeting of officers here. Her reaction came as normal life was paralysed in the Valley on a strike call given by people to protest the large number of killings in encounters in Shopian and Anantnag districts.

The killings of unarmed Kashmiris is part of Operation All-Out (OAO), a joint offensive launched by the Indian security forces in 2017 to flush out militants in Kashmir until there was complete peace in the state i.e. no demand for self determination. The operation includes the Indian Army, CRPF, Jammu and Kashmir Police, BSF and IB. It was launched against numerous militant groups including Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Hizbul Mujahideen and Al-Badr.

While India continues ceasefire violations along the border, the Indian Army's vice chief reportedly informed the Indian Parliament that "68 percent of the army’s military equipment was vintage and also that its capital budget does not cover the committed payments of 125 ongoing procurement deals. There is no budget allocation for emergency procurements and not enough funds exist to procure material for 10 days of warfighting."

Politicians such as National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah and Congress leader P Chidambaram have said that India is “losing Kashmir” because of its muscular policy. The policy aims at a transformed Kashmir without any real regret about civilian casualties. As held Kashmir continues to burn, the Indian firefighting gets extremely lousy and ineffective. There is a total lack of strategy to get out of the embarrassing situation. There is no attempt to take a calm, practical and realistic look at the situation in the Valley.

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