Pakistan Claims: Indian Troops Shot Dead Two Civilians in Kashmir

Published August 19th, 2019 - 10:50 GMT
Pakistan claims Indian troops (file pic) shot two of its civilians dead and wounded a third after they fired across the Line of Control separating Kashmir in an 'unprovoked' incident on Sunday. (AFP/ File Photo)
Pakistan claims Indian troops (file pic) shot two of its civilians dead and wounded a third after they fired across the Line of Control separating Kashmir in an 'unprovoked' incident on Sunday. (AFP/ File Photo)
Pakistan claims two civilians were shot dead by Indian troops in Kashmir Sunday.

Pakistan has accused Indian troops of shooting two civilians dead and wounding another by firing across the military Line of Control which separates the disputed Kashmir region.

Islamabad's foreign ministry said the civilians were shot Sunday due to 'unprovoked ceasefire violations' by India in the border villages of Hot Spring and Chirikot.

Tensions in the Muslim-majority region have been on a knife-edge since New Delhi's Hindu government revoked the state's autonomy and put a military lockdown in place two weeks ago, amid an attempted power-grab.

Meanwhile sources within the Indian judiciary claimed that more than 4,000 people have been arrested since the lockdown came into effect.

A magistrate speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity said that thousands of people have been arrested under the Public Safety Act (PSA), a controversial law that allows authorities to imprison someone for up to two years without charge or trial.

'Most of them were flown out of Kashmir because prisons here have run out of capacity,' the magistrate said. 

He was forced to use a satellite phone to contact reporters after India cut off internet an phone services, though these were being slowly returned starting Monday. 

Meanwhile Pakistan summoned an Indian diplomat to lodge a protest over continued ceasefire violations, which it said 'are a threat to regional peace.'

Pakistan and India have fought two wars over control of Kashmir since they won independence from British colonialists in 1947.

India has imposed a security lockdown in its portion of Kashmir to avoid violence in reaction to the move to change the territory's status.

The government has said it was gradually restoring phone lines and easing the lockdown, but changes were slow. 

Public buses were running in rural areas, but soldiers limited the movement of people on mostly deserted streets in Srinagar, the region's main city.

The Press Trust of India reported that restrictions were reimposed in parts of Srinagar after violence was reported on Saturday.

About 300 Kashmiris returned to Srinagar on Sunday from a Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. Many of them became emotional while reuniting with their family members who met them at the city's airport. 

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Due to the security and communications lockdown, many travelers were unable to contact anybody in the Kashmir region.

'Neither us nor our relatives here knew if we were dead or alive,' Muhammad Ali said after returning from Mecca.

Schools in parts of Srinagar were opened Monday following 15 days on lockdown, with teachers and staff reporting for duty, The Hindu reported.

However, few pupils showed up for lessons amid fears for their safety.

Some barricades were taken down, and private vehicles were allowed back on the roads, the newspaper said.

Kashmir - a strategic crossroads which sits on the border of India, Pakistan and China - has been at the centre of regional disputes since Indian independence in 1947.

India and Pakistan have fought two wars over the territory, and are currently locked into an uneasy ceasefire with a military Line of Control separating the areas they control. Both states claim rights to the entire region.

 Article 370 of the Indian constitution granted the region powers of autonomy in recognition of its special status as India's only Muslim-majority state.

However, Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist government revoked that clause two weeks ago, raising fears of conflict. 

Pakistan has vociferously protested the move, but has so far not taken action on the ground. 

This article has been adapted from its original source.

© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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