India arms Hindu militias in Kashmir to combat pro-independence Muslim fighters: Report

The Indian government is arming village militias to combat pro-independence fighters in the disputed Himalayan Muslim-majority region, according to a report.

Brandishing a bolt-action rifle, civil servant Sanjeet Kumar is one of 5,000 Kashmir villagers who have joined all-Hindu militia units armed and trained by Indian forces to fight off attacks by Muslim fighters, AFP reported on Friday.

Kashmir has been split between India and Pakistan since their partition in 1947. Both countries claim all of Kashmir in its entirety 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.

India has more than half a million soldiers permanently deployed in the parts of Muslim-majority Kashmir it controls.

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

The Hindu nationalist government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is attempting to crush a decades-long pro-independence movement.

The Modi government revoked the self-autonomy of Kashmir in 2019, in a move described by neighboring Pakistan as illegal.

Check Also

British, French defense ministers in Ukraine to discuss further military aid to Kiev

Defense ministers of the United Kingdom and France have gathered in Kiev to discuss further …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *