India airlifts thousands of paramilitary troops to occupied Kashmir

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India on Friday moved thousands of paramilitary troops to further bolster its security presence in occupied Kashmir days after a suicide attack in the region’s Pulwama district killed at least 44 soldiers.

New Delhi authorised and airlifted at least 100 paramilitary companies to the occupied zone following the detention of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Chief Yasin Malik on Friday and the arrests of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) workers in the latest crackdown against the resistance leadership.

According to the Hindustan Times, a considerable build-up of security forces was being witnessed across Kashmir after the Pulwama incident.

The banned group Jaish-e-Muhammad group had reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack but New Delhi blamed Islamabad and threatened a retaliatory attack.

In response to India’s allegations, Prime Minister Imran Khan had promised to conduct an investigation if New Delhi provided actionable evidence. He also warned that Pakistan would ‘retaliate’ if attacked.

Indian occupying forces in the valley were placed on high alert following the Pulwama attack.

The move was termed a ‘well-designed conspiracy to pave way for further uncertainty in the region’ by the religious party.

“During the intervening night of 22-23 February, police and other forces agencies launched mass arrest drive and raided many houses in the valley [IoK] wherein dozens of its central and district level leaders have been arrested,” claimed JI in a statement.

The party added, “Those detained included JI Chief Dr Abdul Hamid Fayaz, party spokesperson Advocate Zahid Ali, former secretary general Ghulam Qadir Lone and dozens more.”

Earlier this week, the Indian government had withdrawn the security cover provided to Kashmiri leaders in the occupied valley.

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