Kashmir: Targeted Killings Trigger Fears of a New Round of Bloodshed

Published October 10th, 2021 - 08:33 GMT
Funeral in Kashmir
A recent spat of killings have sparked fears amongst people in Kashmir. (TAUSEEF MUSTAF/AAFP)

The decades-old dispute between India and Pakistan over the Muslim-majority region of Jammu and Kashmir has been renewed after a series of killings that targeted members of both Muslim and non-Muslim groups in the Indian-administered region.

Since the beginning of October 2021, at least seven assassinations have been reported by local sources. Yet, the fact that attacks have not been claimed by any militant groups so far has triggered questions over whether or not it is part of an effort to disturb the already fragile stability in Kashmir.

The killings, that have targeted 25 people since the start of 2021, are raising suspicions over political motives, especially that the deaths include Muslim, Hindu, and Sikh communities of Kashmir. Local commentators have questioned whether or not the rise in targeted killings aims to deepen the existing divisions in the disputed region and stir fears amongst locals so they leave the region for good.

Some Kashmiri voices have even accused local security forces of inaction towards attacks, saying that "they already had intelligence information prior to the assassinations, but chose to ignore it to spread hateful propaganda."

Online people have been using the hashtag #SaveKashmir calling on international organizations to put more pressure on the Indian government to ensure protection for the residents of the region. 

Turmoil levels have been on the rise in Kashmir since the ultra-nationalist government of Narendra Modi took power in 2014 and decided to split Jammu and Kashmir into two federally administered regions in August 2019.

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