SRINAGAR: Six suspected freedom fighters and a soldier were killed during two separate clashes in Indian-illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJ&K) overnight, police said Thursday, rounding off another bloody year in the disputed territory.
Indian police alleged the six killed in two villages belonged to the Jaish-e-Mohammad. A police statement issued Thursday said one of the four government forces personnel wounded in the clashes died of bullet injuries in a hospital.
This year the death toll was 264, compared to 321 in 2020, according to the South Asia Terrorism Portal. Police say that with intensified military operations against the rebels, the number of local fighters has dropped to fewer than 100 for the first time in a decade.
Local police chief Vijay Kumar told the Economic Times daily this week that some 70 percent of the Kashmiri youth who joined militant ranks this year “were either killed or arrested”. Most of those arrested are being held under anti-terror legislation called the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). The law allows people to be held for six months — often rolled over — without being charged and bail is virtually impossible. One of those — in custody since November — is Khurram Parvez, programme coordinator for respected rights group the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS).
On December 1 the UN Human Rights Office criticised the arrest and said that the UAPA “raises serious concerns relating to the right of presumption of innocence along with other due process and fair trial rights.”