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Indian troops killed 62 suspected militants in Kashmir this year: Police

An Indian paramilitary trooper stands guard in Srinagar, Kashmir, on October 12, 2021. (File photo by AFP)

A senior police official says Indian security forces have killed 62 militants so far this year in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

The state's police chief, Vijay Kumar, said on Sunday that at least 15 militants linked with the Pakistan-based the so-called Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) group were among those killed in a series of operations.

Some of the militants killed this year had links with Lashkar-e-Taiba, another armed  group that has in recent years allegedly recruited and trained fighters to confront Indian authority in Kashmir.

Several members of Hizbul Mujahideen, the largest anti-Indian Kashmiri militant group, were also among those killed, he said.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the official said Indian forces have expanded Broad search and detention operations across Kashmir in recent years.

"The surviving rate of militants has drastically decreased due to enhanced human, technical intelligence and focused operations," Kumar was quoted as saying

Kashmir has gone through heightened tension in the recent past, witnessing several fatalities. In January alone, 21 pro-independence fighters were killed across India-controlled Kashmir. Last year, the disputed region witnessed a wave of unrest to which the Indian forces responded with a widespread crackdown. At least 193 militants were killed in 2021 and 232 in 2020.

Indian authorities said in January more than 400 suspected militants, nearly 100 civilians, and over 80 personnel of security forces have been killed in the Muslim-majority region since August 2019.

At least 2,300 people were also arrested under the vaguely worded anti-terror legislation called the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), which effectively allows people to be held without trial indefinitely. The practice has been extensively used in the Indian-controlled territory since the special status of Kashmir was revoked more than two years ago.

Rights groups say arbitrary detentions and killings by Indian troops are leading to a range of human rights violations.

The government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi revoked the self-autonomy of Kashmir in 2019, in a move described by neighboring Pakistan as illegal. Since then, India has imposed more internet shutdowns and other restrictions in the region.

Kashmir has been split between India and Pakistan since their partition in 1947. Both countries claim all of Kashmir and have fought at least three wars over the territory. New Delhi accuses Islamabad of supporting pro-independence fighters, an allegation rejected by the Pakistani government. Islamabad, in turn, is critical of India’s heavy military deployment to Kashmir and its crackdown on the region’s Muslim population.

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