SRINAGAR, India: (Reuters) – Pakistan accused India of killing four civilians on the border of the two nuclear powers and India said one of its border guards was killed, heightening tensions before a visit by U.S. President Barack Obama.
India said its forces had killed four Pakistanis planning an attack on Indian soil, although Indian media and opposition parties disputed the official account. The Pakistani army said four civilians had died in Indian shelling.
A senior Indian official with the border security forces said they had retaliated on Monday for machine gun and mortar attacks on about 60 positions strung out along more than 200 kilometres (125 miles) of the border.
“Pakistani rangers fired rocket-propelled grenades in villages near the border and our men have responded,” the officer told Reuters.
Monday’s incidents, in the Samba district south of Jammu along the international border in Jammu and Kashmir, followed the killing of two Pakistani soldiers by Indian forces on New Year’s Eve.
As the hostilities intensified, India’s security agencies declared a nationwide alert last week to avoid militant strikes before visits by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama later in January.
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By Sameer Arshad
A natural disaster of apocalyptic proportions has hit Kashmir. It is unprecedented in recent memory across three generations and has left tens of thousands marooned besides destroying vital infrastructure. The extent of the human toll is unclear. Reports of floating bodies and those trapped inside collapsed houses makes it a frightening scenario. Almost all major hospitals have been affected and practically dysfunctional. The ones which worked were fast running out of life-saving drugs, painkillers, food and water. Near total power and communications breakdown has complicated relief work. Even after the water recedes, Kashmir would suffer physical, economic and psychological consequences of the disaster for years to come.
Yet it seems to business as usual – dehumanizing Kashmiris — for certain people even in the midst of the catastrophe that has directly affected an estimated 60% people. It is the same old ‘good us’ versus ‘evil them’ subtext — based on chronic disinformation — that is playing out even in the sections of the mainstream media. It is been much worse on the social media. Nauseating trolling has become even more vicious in the name of exclusivist nationalism, which has no place for the monolithic other like Kashmiris. Abuse and sadistic pleasure being drawn from the colossal damage to human life and property has been very distressing particularly for non-resident Kashmiris, who have relied on social media to find out the fate of their loved ones caught in killer flood waters.
Continue reading Hyper nationalism can wait, Kashmiris need succour first →
By Ayaz Amir
If this was Srinagar, and the Indian army had been trying to quell a crowd of Kashmiri demonstrators, we would have understood. We would have shaken our heads but we would have understood. Although even there the savagery and the mindless brutality of the Lahore police on supporters of Dr Tahirul Qadri would have seemed excessive.
The Indian army and the Indian police don’t have much of a reputation for being gentle in dealing with unruly Muslim protesters. Even so, when was the last time nine people, including two women and a youngster, were shot dead in cold blood in Srinagar? In addition to the dead there are around 30-40 people with gunshot wounds in hospital. When was the last time this happened across the Line of Control? When was the last time this was the tally of the dead and wounded in East Jerusalem or the West Bank?
And this wasn’t Hamas-ruled Gaza, the West Bank or Occupied Kashmir. This was Lahore and one of its better residential colonies. The chief minister lives in the same locality. But that evening when he addressed a press conference looking ever so contrite, he gave the impression that all this happened over his head. This from someone known as a hands-on chief minister…virtually half the city’s police force deployed against the Minhajul-Quran secretariat, the locality looking like a battlefield and resounding with the sound of gunfire for hours on end, and the chief minister in blissful ignorance.
Continue reading Was this Lahore or Occupied Kashmir? →