Hundreds Arrested in Kashmir

Thousands of members of India’s Armed Forces were deployed throughout Kashmir, a region in northwestern India, on the anniversary of the execution of Afzal Guru, a prominent Indian nationalist as well as the alleged mastermind behind attacks carried out against the Indian Parliament in December of 2001. Authorities are said to have instituted a curfew throughout the region, in addition to restricting access to roads and detaining more than 200 individuals with Kashmir-based separatist groups. Commerce in Sringagar, Kashmir’s main city, ground to a halt as many businesses shuttered amidst fear of violent clashes between Indian forces and separatists.

The sweeping, preventative maneuvers implemented throughout the region represent another in a series of contentious interactions between separatists in Kashmir that either favor accession to Pakistan or complete independence, and Indian armed forces. The execution of Afzal Guru represents a major source of bitterness and resentment for many living in Kashmir. Guru, who was secretly hanged in 2013, was convicted of involvement in the attacks on parliament although the Indian Supreme Court was unable to establish definite ties between him and Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba, the two known terrorist groups that claimed responsibility for the attack. Allegations of torture and underhanded legal practices in the prosecution exacerbated an already tense region that has been marked by violence since 1947.

It remains to be seen whether the ongoing crackdown in Kashmir will come to represent a new Indian policy towards its contentious northwest. Although violence in Kashmir has fallen under Kashmir’s Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, recent outbreaks and the present crackdown suggest that the region is still far from overcoming the sources of contention that have plagued it for more than half a century.

News Briefs: 

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