India boosts security in Kashmir after deadly clashes



Indian authorities on Monday bolstered security in the contested region of Kashmir after clashes turned deadly during a local election.

“Etiquette deployments have been made to maintain the law and order situation on Monday,” a senior police official told the “Times of India” daily.

Police blocked roads with barricades and imposed travel restrictions across the Himalayan region, including suspending various train routes servicing the area.

At least 8 people were killed and more than 200 injured on Sunday after police and Indian paramilitary forces opened fire at protesters during a by-election for a parliamentary seat in the Srinagar-Budgam district.

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“Violent protests happened at many places in Budgam. Protesters damaged and snatched EVMs (electronic voting machines) at some places,” Jammu and Kashmir chief electoral officer Shantmanu told AFP news agency. “It was not a good day for all us.”

Officials have warned of an escalation of violence ahead of a second by-election slated for April 12 in Anantnag, about 65 kilometers (40 miles) southeast of Budgam.

Rising tensions

Farooq Abdullah, a former state chief minister contesting the parliamentary seat in Sunday’s election, blamed the government for failing to ensure security during the electoral process.

“Elections should have been peaceful. This government has failed in giving a peaceful atmosphere for people to come and vote,” Abdullah told reporters.

Tensions in India-held Kashmir have flared since July 2016, when Indian forces killed a popular separatist leader, prompting mass protests and a subsequent crackdown that left dozens dead.

Suspected militants in September killed 19 Indian soldiers at an army base in Kashmir, marking the worst attack of its kind in more than a decade.

Delhi has accused Pakistan of supporting the gunmen and fueling the unrest, although Islamabad has denied the allegations.

Since gaining independence from British rule in 1947, India and Pakistan have claimed Kashmir, fighting two wars over the Himalayan region.

ls/rt (Reuters, AFP)


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