A Asia

Attack in Kashmir leaves 40 people dead

In a bomb attack by militants, at least 40 Indian paramilitary police have been killed on their convoy in Indian-administered Kashmir. The death toll might increase as there are many officers heavily wounded.

The explosion occurred on the heavily guarded Srinagar-Jammu highway about 20km from Srinagar, the main in Indian-administered Kashmir.

The police told BCC that the car, armed with 300 to 350kg of explosives, rammed into a convoy of about 70 vehicles that was carrying about 2,500 troops to the Kashmir Valley.

"A car overtook the convoy and rammed into a bus with 44 personnel on board," stated a senior police officer in the BBC.

Jaish-e-Mohammad, a in Pakistan-based Islamist group, claimed that it was behind the attack. It has been labelled as a terrorist organisation by India, the UK, the US, and the UN and it was banned in Pakistan since 2002.

The bomb attack was the most lethal attack on Indian forces in Kashmir since the insurgency against Indian rule in 1989.

In 2002, a deadly attack at an Indian army base in Kaluchak near Jammu left at least 31 militants dead - most of them civilians and relatives of soldiers.

International sanctions were called out by India against Masood Azhar, leader of the Jaish-e-Mohammad.

Pakistan stated that the violence was a matter of "grave concern" rejecting suggestions that it was behind the attack,

Kashmir has been claimed by India and Pakistan but both countries only control some parts of it. Both countries have fought three wars and a limited conflict since they gained independence from the UK in 1947.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the assault on Friday saying that the country would give a “strong reply” to those responsible for the attack.

He said on Twitter that “India will give a strong reply for Kashmir attack”.

Also, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said Jaish-e-Mohammad was "Pakistan-based and Pakistan-backed" while India’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said those responsible would be given an "unforgettable lesson for their heinous act".

The Pakistani government strongly rejected such statement: "any insinuation by elements in the Indian media and government that seek to link the attack to Pakistan without investigations".

The United States, the UN Secretary-General as well as many other countries have condemned the attack.

Indian security has been reminded with the attack that the conflict in Kashmir is far from over.

Tensions between Pakistan and India could surge again as New Delhi had already pointed the finger at Pakistan for apparently supporting terrorist organisations such as Jaish-e-Mohammad.

 

 

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