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Posts Tagged ‘Security Forces

Indian Occupied Kashmir: Three Security Personnel Killed

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Encounter also claimed lives of three security personnel.

The encounter started on Monday in a dense forest in Kralpora area of Kupwara. Police and army personnel cordoned off the area on specific information about the presence of militants.

When the encounter started there was heavy firing from the terrorists’ side.

Terrorists are said to be carrying heavy arms and a huge cache of ammunition. They have been positioned at the top of the terrain, which gave them a vantage point creating problems for security forces.

An army lieutenant and two police constables were martyred in the operation.

India’s Orissa state ‘halts’ offensive against Maoists

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The government in the eastern Indian state of Orissa has halted an offensive against Maoist rebels after they abducted a senior official.


Mr Krishna was on his way to inspect a government project when he was seized

R Vineel Krishna, district collector of Malkangiri, and another official were kidnapped on Wednesday evening.

The Maoists have demanded the release of rebels held in prisons and an end to the offensive by security forces.

Indian forces are battling Maoists in several states. The rebels say they are fighting for the rights of the poor.

Orissa’s Home Secretary UN Behura said the government was “stopping all combing operations in the state” and was ready to talk to the rebels.

Reports said the state government had contacted leading social worker Swami Agnivesh to negotiate with the rebels to secure Mr Krishna’s release.

The Maoists’ 48-hour deadline to the government to release rebels held in prison expires on Friday evening.

Correspondents say the deadline is likely to be extended in view of the government’s efforts to talk to the rebels.

Malkangiri is among the districts worst affected by Maoist violence in India.

The hilly and forested terrain make it an ideal place for Maoists to run their camps there and launch operations against security forces.

Mr Krishna, 30, is a graduate from the premier Indian Institute of Technology and joined the civil service in 2005. He was appointed to head Malkangiri district 16 months ago.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has described the Maoist insurgency as India’s biggest internal security challenge.

A government offensive against the rebels – widely referred to as Operation Green Hunt – began in October 2009.

It involves 50,000 troops and is taking place across five states – West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Orissa and Chhattisgarh.

BJP supporters vow to march to Kashmir

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Thousands of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporters massed on a bridge to the disputed Kashmir region on Tuesday as officials sought to stop a flag-raising ceremony that could spark violence.


Workers of India’s main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) hold national flags and shout slogans during a protest on a bridge at Madhopur, in the northern Indian state of Punjab

Police faced off with flag-waving BJP workers as authorities sealed routes into Kashmir to thwart the planned raising of the national flag in the state that has been racked by unrest by Muslim separatists opposed to Indian rule.

Police forced about 7,000 marchers on to buses and drove them away, police sources said, while the remaining 2,500 protesters attempting to cross the border from the Jammu region into Kashmir faced arrest or detention.

Officials in Kashmir fear that the symbolic show of Indian cental control over the disputed region could reignite separatist protests in which more than 100 people were killed last year.

The BJP has gained political ground through recent pressure on the ruling coalition struggling with graft and it hopes to show the government’s weakness on Kashmir, a potent symbol of India’s territorial integrity, with state elections looming.

But the main oppostion party risks a backlash. The government has criticised it for “divisive politics” and its nationalistic rhetoric may alienate secular Indians and other political parties.

“There is no justification whatsoever to push a political agenda that will certainly affect peace and law and order in the state of Jammu and Kashmir,” Home Minister P. Chidamabaram said in a statement.

“It would be most unfortunate if the BJP leaders defy the restrictions placed by the state government or deliberately cause a breach of the peace.”

The state government, backed by the ruling Congress party, sealed all road links into the state, media reported, a day after BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley were detained at the airport in the main Kashmiri city of Srinagar and sent back out.

Senior BJP officials have said raising the national flag in Srinagar, the summer capital of Kashmir, to celebrate India’s Republic Day on Wednesday, was a patriotic right, and have vowed to push on with their march to the city.

“We have started march towards J&K … We are marching in a group of 500 people holding tricolour (flag)… Huge police presence on the other side of the bridge,” Swaraj, the BJP leader in the lower house of parliament, posted on Twitter.

Republic Day has traditionally been a lightning rod for anti-Indian protests in the Himalayan region which is at the heart of hostilities between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan, who both claim it.

“The (BJP’s) aggressive and adamant stand … betrays a dangerous inability to understand the subtlety and calibration needed in a place like Jammu and Kashmir,” the Indian Express newspaper said in an editorial.

“Aggressive postures aimed at little more than self-serving polarisation will do no good to any cause, least of all one proclaimed in the name of this country’s unity.”

Militants backed by Pakistan have been battling Indian security forces in Muslim-majority Kashmir since 1989. Tens of thosuands of people have been killed in the violence.

Kashmir rebels kill two Indian policemen

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SRINAGAR: Suspected Muslim militants shot dead two policemen on Wednesday in the latest violence to strike revolt-hit Indian Kashmir, police said.

The attacks were the first since US President Barack Obama said in New Delhi Monday that Washington could not “impose” a solution on India and Pakistan’s dispute over Kashmir – which has sparked two wars between the neighbours.

“Pistol-wielding militants walked up to the policemen and shot them dead at point-blank range,” a police spokesman said.

The shootings took place in Patan town, 30 kilometers (18 miles) south of Indian Kashmir summer capital of Srinagar.

“The militants seized the rifles of the dead policemen and fled the scene,” the spokesman said.

Security forces sealed the area and launched a search to “arrest or eliminate” the militants involved in the attack.

India points to rise of Hindu ‘saffron terror’ risk

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NEW DELHI – India’s home minister warned on Wednesday that Hindu extremists posed an increasing risk to national security, dubbing the threat as “saffron terror”.


Chidambaram also warned that the government faced a lengthy battle to defeat India’s worsening Maoist insurgency

The colour saffron is associated with Hindu nationalism in India, and some right-wing groups have been linked to militant attacks in the north and west of the country.

However, most major recent attacks, including those in Mumbai in 2008 during which 166 people died, have been blamed on Islamists.

“We have recently uncovered a new phenomenon of ‘saffron terror’ and I ask you to be vigilant,” P. Chidambaram told an annual meeting of police chiefs in New Delhi.

Hardline regional parties like the Shiv Sena, which is based in Mumbai, vow to defend Hindu rights in India, but deny they are behind any violent militant activity.

Chidambaram also warned that the government faced a lengthy battle to defeat India’s worsening Maoist insurgency in eastern and central states.

Maoist attacks have risen with scores of police and soldiers killed in ambushes since Chidambaram launched a nationwide security offensive last year.

“The people of India understand that the conflict will be a long-drawn one, that patience is the key, that mistakes will be made and that the security forces need material and moral support,” he said.

India has almost doubled its homeland security budget to 405 billion rupees (nine billion dollars) since 2008-2009, he added.

The Maoist rebels say they fight against federal and state authorities on behalf of landless tribal groups and poor farmers who have been left behind by economic development.

Female protesters pile on pressure in Indian Kashmir

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SRINAGAR, India – “We are out on the streets with a message — kill us before you kill our young boys and girls,” says Rehana Ashraf, a female teacher in Indian Kashmir.


Hundreds of women and girls have joined the anti-India protests on streets

It is a stance which makes the security forces deeply anxious as they battle to suppress a surge of violent protests against India’s rule of the Muslim-majority region.


Dealing with female protesters is a challenge for the police and paramilitary troops

An increasing number of women have been involved in the demonstrations, during which at least 45 people have been killed in the last eight weeks.

Most of the victims are young men who have died in gun fire as security forces try to enforce curfew orders that have brought ordinary life to a halt.

Each death — particularly those of two women so far — has triggered further angry protests and an equally strong response from Indian paramilitary troops and police.

“Under such circumstances, you can’t expect us to remain silent,” said Ashraf, 49, who lives in the region’s main town Srinagar with her two young daughters. “We want to send out a message that we are not weak.”


The protests began when a 17-year-old male student was killed by a police tear-gas shell in Srinagar on June 11

Young men have always led the street protests and stone-throwing in Kashmir during 20 years of rebellion, but that is changing.

“We have lost our patience. They have killed our sons and brothers. How do you expect us to be mute spectators?” 41-year-old Mehbooba Akhter, a mother of three teenage sons, told AFP.

Akhter, a Srinagar resident, said she has been taking part in the wave of anti-India protests, which began when a 17-year-old male student was killed by a police tear-gas shell in Srinagar on June 11.

Hundreds of women and girls, many in colourful salwar kameez dresses, have since been regularly out on the streets chanting “we want freedom!” and “blood for blood!” Some carry sticks and stones.

Dealing with female protesters is a fraught challenge for the police and paramilitary troops struggling to control the protests, which India says are instigated by hardline groups supported by Pakistan.

“Putting women and children in the front of rallies is a deliberate attempt by separatists to put us on back foot,” Prabhakar Tripathi, spokesman for paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), told AFP.

“They know we won’t confront them,” he said.

Many women who do not directly take part in rallies carry drinking water to the protesters and also direct youths down escape routes as they flee from baton charges, tear-gas and gunfire.

“It is not the responsibility of men alone to protest against injustice. We women have to be in the forefront to fight it too,” said Shamima Javed, 38.

“I am joining protests to express my solidarity with those women who lost their sons and daughters.”

Other women believe they should not become involved.

“I am against protests. They affect education and the livelihoods of thousands,” said Haleema Akhter, a retired woman in the southern town of Pampore. “But even my own 40-year-old daughter and her children are not willing to listen.”

Syeda Afshana, a leading columnist and lecturer in the main Kashmir university, says the increasing female presence reflects the sense of injustice felt by Kashmiris.

“Out on the streets, women are making their minds felt,” Afshana told AFP. “By pelting stones, they are expressing their collective anger.”

8 more protesters killed in Indian Kashmir

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SRINAGAR, India – Four people were gunned down Sunday by security forces who opened fire on thousands of protesters and another four civilians were killed in a blast at a police station, bringing the death toll from weeks of clashes in increasingly violent Indian Kashmir to 31.


A Kashmiri Muslim protester throws a policeman’s bamboo shield on a burning government vehicle after …

The explosion happened after the police station was set on fire by residents angry at two deaths in Khrew, a town near Srinagar where hundreds had been protesting Indian rule, a top police officer said.

At least four people were killed and dozens of civilians were injured in the blast, the officer said on condition of anonymity as he didn’t want his name to be used.

There were no casualties among the police officers who fled the area as the mob attacked the police station, which also housed a state counterinsurgency police force, the officer said.

A lot of explosive material used in quarry blasting was stored in the police station as the town is known for its cement industry and it might have triggered the blast, he said.

“A deafening blast shook the earth beneath and a flying brick hit my head,” said Mohammed Yousuf, an eyewitness. “We don’t know what happened inside the premises, but outside many were left injured.”

Earlier, demonstrators began hurling stones after government forces tried to prevent them from marching in the town of Pampore, another police officer said.

Government forces opened fire, killing two of the protesters, the officer said.

Another two people were killed and five others injured in firing by government forces in nearby Khrew, where hundreds of people marched through the streets chanting pro-independence slogans, the officer said.

As night fell, thousands of Kashmiri Muslims held protest marches in towns and villages across the region and clashed with government forces, police and local residents said. Many injuries were feared in the violence, police said.

Hundreds of residents of Pampore and nearby villages had joined demonstrations Sunday and set government buildings and vehicles on fire after hearing about the shooting deaths of two people on Saturday, police and witnesses said.

The two were shot dead and five others were wounded after police in two towns opened fire on protesters who had attacked their camps and pelted them with rocks.

The recent tension in the Himalayan region – divided between India and Pakistan and claimed by both – is reminiscent of the late 1980s, when protests against New Delhi’s rule sparked an armed conflict. More than 68,000 people have been killed, mostly civilians.

The mostly Muslim region, where resistance to rule by predominantly Hindu India is strong, has been under a rolling curfew and strikes after anti-India street protests and clashes surged.

The latest cycle of protests against Indian rule in the troubled region has left at least 31 dead – mostly teenagers and young men in their 20s – over the past six weeks.

India and Pakistan have fought two wars over control of Kashmir since 1947. Both claim the region in entirety.

Separatist politicians and militants reject Indian sovereignty over Kashmir and want to carve out a separate homeland or merge with predominantly Muslim Pakistan.

Kashmir parties seek inquiry into deaths of protesters

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Political parties in Indian-administered Kashmir have called for an inquiry into the deaths of protesters at the hands of security forces.

Kashmir Parties.JPG

At least 14 civilians have been killed in street protests in the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley in a month.

BBC correspondents say an undeclared curfew continues in parts of central Srinagar. Shops and offices have been shut by a strike called by separatists.

In other parts of the Kashmir valley a curfew was lifted on Sunday.

The violence comes ahead of talks later this week between India and Pakistan. Both countries claim Kashmir in its entirety and have fought two of their three wars over the Himalayan territory.

The Indian government accuses Pakistan-based militant groups of instigating the latest protests.

Separatists in the region want an end to Indian rule.

Media curbs

The BBC’s Sanjoy Majumder in Srinagar says the city appears to have shut down.


Protests in Kashmir have raged for a month

Central areas which should be bustling with activity are almost completely deserted apart for a few cars.

Police in body armour are out in strength and have set up checkpoints at major intersections, our correspondent says.

The authorities have been criticised for excessive use of force in dealing with the protests.

But Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has said security forces cannot be expected to show restraint all the time when protesters are throwing stones at them.

Mr Abdullah invited the state’s 12 parties for talks in Srinagar to try to evolve a consensus on how to deal with the violence.

The main opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) did not attend. It said the meeting was “useless” and appealed to the Indian prime minister to intervene.

The Jammu-based Panthers’ Party also refused to attend. The talks went ahead without the two parties.

The meeting adopted a resolution urging the state government to “have an inquiry conducted to ascertain the circumstances leading to civilian deaths in the action by security forces”.

It expressed deep anguish over the “unfortunate loss of lives during the recent disturbances”.

Of those parties which attended, only the Bharatiya Janata Party did not back the call for an independent inquiry. It said such a move would affect troops’ morale.

Meanwhile, Srinagar-based newspapers have resumed production after a four-day stoppage in protest at curbs on the movement of journalists.

NATO ‘friendly fire’ kills Afghan soldiers

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By Mohammad Yaqob

GHAZNI, Afghanistan – Police said Wednesday six Afghan soldiers were killed in a NATO air strike in Afghanistan, where the military announced the deaths of another three foreign soldiers fighting the Taliban.


Western military air strikes targeting the Taliban have mistakenly killed scores of Afghan civilians and security forces

Local police in troubled Ghazni province, in south-central Afghanistan, said NATO “friendly fire” on an army post killed six officers, in an incident that the US-led NATO force said it was investigating.

The air strike late Tuesday was originally aimed at Taliban militants, said Nawruz Ali Mohamoodzada, a provincial police official.

“It mistakenly hit an army post in which six soldiers were killed. An investigation has been launched,” he told AFP.

Western military air strikes targeting the Taliban have mistakenly killed scores of Afghan civilians and security forces, fanning opposition to foreign troops, sparking angry protests and remonstrations from the Afghan government.

A spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said: “We are aware of an incident and we are getting information”.

About 140,000 international troops are fighting alongside Afghan forces to quell a Taliban-led insurgency into a ninth year and train Afghan counterparts to take over so that they can eventually leave.

The fiercest fighting is taking place in southern Afghanistan, heartland of the insurgency and the focus of a new US-led push to reverse Taliban momentum.

Reports emerged Wednesday that British troops, who make up the second largest contingent after those from the United States, are to withdraw from one of the deadliest battlefields in the south and hand control to the Americans.

British Defence Secretary Liam Fox was expected to announce later Wednesday that British forces will be pulled out of Sangin district in Helmand province, the BBC and newspapers reported.

US forces, who now outnumber the British in Helmand, will then take charge.

Of 312 British service personnel to have died in Afghanistan since the 2001 US-led invasion to unseat the Taliban regime, 99 were killed in the market town of Sangin and the surrounding area.

It has witnessed some of the fiercest fighting the British military has endured since World War II.

The area is particularly dangerous because it contains a patchwork of rival tribes and is a major centre for Afghanistan’s opium-growing trade.

Western military losses in Afghanistan are now at record levels.

NATO announced that three troops, whose nationalities were not given, died Tuesday in bomb attacks in the south.

The deaths bring to 339 the number of foreign soldiers to have died in the Afghan conflict this year, according to an AFP tally based on a count kept by the icasualties.org website.

In July alone, 17 foreign soldiers have died. June set the record for the war, now in its ninth year, with 102 deaths.

Strategic planners warned the summer “fighting season” would see a spike in deaths, as NATO and the US beef up deployments in an effort to speed an end to the war.

The arrival of General David Petraeus as commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan has focused attention on the rules of engagement, as many soldiers believe a principle of “courageous restraint” is leading to higher casualties.

Petraeus’s sacked predecessor US General Stanley McChrystal put restrictions on troops, including fewer night raids and air strikes, as well as combat rules, aimed at cutting civilian casualties.

In a restive region just south of Kabul, four Afghan police officers were killed by a bomb, the interior ministry said.

The officers were on patrol in a troubled part of Logar province when the bomb hit their vehicle Tuesday. The ministry blamed the attack on the Taliban.

‘Militants being funded from abroad’

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PAKHTUNKHWA TIMES

IGP Khyber Pakthunkhwa Malik Naveed Khan here Wednesday ruled out the possibility of terrorism threats to the provincial capital and said that militants and their leadership are in disarray due to massive losses suffered by them at the hands of security forces. A handful of militants might have been shifted to Khyber Agency following the successful military operation in Orakzai Agency but there is no threat to Peshawar as security forces and police are fully capable to thwart enemy’ designs. This he said while responding to questions of journalists after giving detailed presentation on the overall law and order situation and police sacrifices during the war against terror here at Malik Saad Shaheed Police Lines. However, he said suicide attacks could not be ruled out.

The Khyber Pakthunkhwa police chief said that massive losses suffered by militants in their strongholds could be judged from the fact that their leadership now can’t move from one place to other and their safe heavens have been destroyed as result of successful operations of security forces. It was the successful operation that has established peace in Swat and Malakand division. To a question about sources of funding to militants, he said that the way they were equipped, armed, driving vehicles, they might getting funds from some foreign quarters that needs to be blocked. The presence of large number of Afghan refugees in Pakistan for the last 32 years had also added to the difficulties of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police in making close check on militants and terrorists, he added.

The IGP made it crystal clear that illegal emigrants would not be tolerated and would be expelled. The joint search operation that had conducted by paramilitary forces and Khyber Pakthunkhwa police against militants and anti-state elements in the outskirts of Peshawar has proved very successful, owing to significant improvement in law and order in the provincial capital, he maintained. The IGP said the entire nation was now united against the menace of militancy and terrorism and the time is not far away when this cancer would be uprooted completely, he remarked.

“Now, the government, political leadership, civil society, security forces, intelligentsia, people and religious scholars have joined hands with a strong resolve and commitment to wipeout the scourge of extremism, radicalization, militancy and terrorism and with the grace of God we will be triumph,” he remarked. To combat terrorism on sustainable basis, he said Quick Response Force and Elite Forces have been raised, saying that Quick Response Force present at every district headquarters can respond to any terrorists act within five minutes information. Likewise, 6725 Special Police Officers /Community Policemen have been recruited on merit to ward off the threats of terrorism and militancy. The introduction of community police has greatly discouraged militancy in areas where writ of Government was challenged, he added. The IGP said Khyber Pakthunkhwa police have rendered great sacrifices in the war against terror and it was acknowledged by all.

He said that 46 policemen had lost their lives in IED explosions in last two and half years, saying that 201 policemen had embraced martyrdom while fighting against terrorists while 229 militants were killed in 2009. The Police Chief said that 29394 explosive materials, 42 suicide jackets and 41010 hand grenades/dynamites/explosive materials have been seized during last two and half years by Khyber Pakthunkhwa police. Praising showers on police martyrs for their invaluable sacrifices for averting scores of terrorists’ attacks and protecting lives and properties of people of large number population, he said the heirs of martyrs would not be left alone.

The government under Shaheed police package has already announced free education, residential plots, Rs. Three million for heirs of martyred, reservation of special seats for their children and full salary till superannuation have been ensured. The IGP said that a batch of 25 policemen suffered by trauma and mental disorder due to terrorism has performed Umra and another batch will also be sent that had resulted improvement of their health. He said that 500 plots have been distributed among the heirs of martyrs in Regi Lalma township while colonies would also be constructed for policemen at Karak, Kohat, Nowshera and Haripura districts.

A monument would also be constructed for police martyrs at each district while police stations and police lines named after martyrs. In addition to policemen, he said that gallantry medals for civilians who demonstrated bravery would be given, saying that this award will also be given to a journalist. The Khyber Pakthunkhwa police chief said that a record number about 100 developmental projects were underway including construction of police lines, stations, posts, colonies etc that after completion would improve the socio-economic condition of policemen.

Regarding aid pledges of international donors countries, he urged the Friends of Pakistan to relax its rules and helped government to further strengthen and equip Khyber Pakthunkhwa police being the front line force in war against terrorism to defeat militancy, terrorism and insurgency once and for all. He said that terrorism was global issue and not related to Pakistan. The IGP also stressed the need for strengthening of Criminal Justice System to curb militancy and terrorism and radicalization on sound footings.