India’s army yesterday said that it had killed the mastermind of a major suicide bomb attack in Kashmir which it blamed on Pakistan, as calls grew for reprisals over the deaths of more than 40 paramilitaries and soldiers.
Indian forces have staged operations since Thursday’s attack, while anti-Pakistan and anti-Kashmir sentiment has spread across the country, fueled by social media, including widely shared false news reports.
Three militants from the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) group, which claimed responsibility for the suicide attack, were killed in a gunbattle that lasted much of Monday, Lieutenant General Kanwal Jeet Singh Dhillon told a press conference in Srinagar.
Two of the militants were Pakistanis, including the group’s “chief operations commander” in Kashmir, the army general said.
Dhillon said the attack had been “masterminded” by Pakistan — specifically, its powerful Inter-Services Intelligence branch.
Pakistan, which banned the JeM in 2002, has denied any role in the attack.
Kashmir has been split between India and Pakistan since independence from Britain in 1947. Both countries claim the Himalayan territory in full and have fought two wars in connection to the dispute.
The attack on a military convoy by an explosives-packed car was the deadliest assault on security personnel in Kashmir for three decades.
Hundreds of Indian soldiers on Monday raided a suspected militant hideout in a village close to the site of Thursday’s attack.
Besides the three militants, the battle left four Indian soldiers, a policeman and a civilian dead.
Meanwhile, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan yesterday said that Islamabad was ready to help India investigate Thursday’s blast, but would retaliate if New Delhi attacks.
“Pakistan won’t just think to retaliate. Pakistan will retaliate,” Khan said in a nationally televised address.
The former cricket hero went on to demand New Delhi share proof of Islamabad’s involvement in the suicide blast.
Khan vowed that if any militant group was using Pakistani soil to launch attacks, “its enmity is with us. This is against our interest.”
Minutes after the address, Khan’s official Instagram account posted a picture of the prime minister — scowling and cross-armed — along with a message that read: “Don’t mess with my country.”
Earlier yesterday, Pakistani Minister of Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi pleaded with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to intervene, saying India was threatening to “use force against Pakistan” and abandon a vital water treaty.
“It is imperative to take steps for de-escalation. The United Nations must step in to defuse tensions,” Qureshi wrote in a message shared with reporters.
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
ACADEMIC FREEDOM: One professor told her students to submit anonymized papers and not to record any online classes. Some US schools have announced similar steps Students at Oxford University specializing in the study of China are being asked to submit some papers anonymously to protect them from the possibility of retribution under the sweeping new security law introduced three months ago in Hong Kong. The anonymity ruling is to be applied in classes, and group tutorials are to be replaced by one-to-ones. Students are also to be warned that it will be viewed as a disciplinary offence if they tape classes or share them with outside groups. The Hong Kong National Security Law was imposed on June 30 by Beijing after more than a year of pro-democracy
Japan’s government yesterday urged people to seek help if they were struggling to cope, following Sunday’s death of the popular actress and Miss Sherlock star Yuko Takeuchi, 40. News of her death shocked the nation and follows other recent cases of Japanese celebrities taking their lives, with figures showing a recent rise in suicides. Takeuchi was a household name in Japan and had given birth to her second child in January. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato did not mention a particular case, but said that some people were struggling to cope during the COVID-19 pandemic. “There has been an uptick in the number
China on Thursday lashed out at the US at a high-level UN meeting over its criticism on the COVID-19 pandemic, with its envoy declaring, “Enough is enough.” Two days after US President Donald Trump used his annual address to the General Assembly to attack China’s record, US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft, also took an outraged tone — after which her Chinese counterpart showed palpable anger. “I must say, enough is enough. You have created enough troubles for the world already,” Chinese Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun (張軍) told a Security Council meeting on global governance attended through videoconference