India has sent thousands of more paramilitary troops into Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), already one of the world’s most militarised zones, after a string of targeted killings in recent weeks, officials said Wednesday.
New Delhi has for decades stationed at least 500,000 soldiers in the occupied Himalayan territory. “Around 2,500 troops have arrived and they were deployed all over the valley,” Abhiram Pankaj, a spokesman for the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), told AFP.
More were on their way to the occupied territory, he added.
Around 5,000 extra paramilitaries in all were being deployed from this week, including from India’s Border Security Force (BSF), according to a police officer speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity.
Read more: High-level OIC delegation visits Pakistan-India de facto border
Some of the troops are housed in civilian community halls that have been fortified with new sandbag bunkers, reminiscent of the early 1990s when the freedom movement against Indian rule was at its peak.
Since then tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, have been martyred by the Indian security forces.
A dozen people have been gunned down since last month in what appeared to be targeted assassinations, including police, migrant workers from northern Indian states and local members of the Sikh and Hindu communities.
Rebel groups, who have since 1989 fought for Kashmir’s independence or merger with Pakistan, are believed to be responsible for the attacks.
Also read: India’s Afghan moot grotesque attempt to erase state-terrorism record
Some of those killed were accused by the Resistance Front, a local rebel group, of being in the employ of security forces.
Police and paramilitary troops in bulletproof gear and wielding automatic rifles have intensified frisk searches of residents, including children, on the streets.
Newly deployed troops are now visible around many new checkpoints set up in recent weeks across the city of Srinagar.
Anger has simmered in the occupied region since August 2019 when New Delhi revoked its partial autonomy and brought IIOJK under its direct rule.