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India vows to ‘root out’ terrorism

The home minister has ordered ‘zero terror’ plans to be implemented in Jammu and Kashmir in the wake of increased attacks

Indian Home Minister Amit Shah has instructed security agencies to take stringent actions against terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, a region disputed by New Delhi and Islamabad, following recent terrorist attacks that targeted both military personnel and civilians.

On Sunday, Shah chaired a high-level meeting with security agencies, taking stock of security arrangements in the Jammu district ahead of the annual Amarnath Yatra pilgrimage, a Hindu religious event in the region that attracts hundreds of thousands.

India’s fight against terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir is in its “decisive phase” and the government “will leave no stone unturned in rooting out terrorism” from the region, Shah said.

The home minister directed security agencies to replicate ‘Area Domination Plan’ and ‘Zero Terror Plan’ used earlier in the Kashmir district to address terrorism in Jammu, according to an official statement from the ministry. India Today reported, citing sources, that Shah called for robust security for the pilgrimage and urged officials to ensure the safety of all routes and key locations.

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Shah’s comments come amid a recent surge in terrorist attacks in Jammu, including an attack on a bus carrying pilgrims that killed nine people last week.

The attack was timed with recently reelected Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony in New Delhi. After the attack, Modi asked officials to deploy the “full spectrum of counter-terror capabilities.”

While the intensity of attacks and infiltration attempts have reduced significantly in the past years, according to New Delhi, there has been a rise in terrorist activity in various districts in recent weeks.

Jammu and Kashmir has been at the center of a border dispute between India and Pakistan since their independence from the British Empire in 1947.

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A Kashmiri farmer walks across a mustard field on the outskirts of Srinagar on April 7, 2024.
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Kashmir was the site of several major wars between the neighboring nations and sporadic military clashes continue, despite a ceasefire along the Line of Control and International Border, agreed upon in February 2021.

After the Modi-led government in 2019 abolished Article 370 of the Constitution, which gave special rights to the residents of Jammu and Kashmir, and the state was reorganized into two union territories, the already fragile ties between New Delhi and Islamabad worsened.

While India’s Supreme Court upheld the revocation of Article 370 last year, it also directed that statehood in Jammu and Kashmir be restored and legislative assembly elections be held by the end of September this year.

Jammu and Kashmir recorded its highest voter turnout in several decades during the recent general elections. Both the Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) bloc, which won the elections, and the opposition INDIA alliance linked the higher-than-expected voter turnout to the revocation of Article 370. The territory has remained without an elected government since 2018.

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June 18, 2024 at 05:01PM

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