India sends thousands more troops to occupied Kashmir

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SRINAGAR: India has sent thousands more paramilitary troops into occupied Kashmir, already one of the world’s most militarised zones, after a string of targeted killings in recent weeks, officials said on Wednesday.

New Delhi has for decades stationed at least 500,000 soldiers in the occupied valley.

“Around 2,500 troops have arrived and they were deployed all over [occupied] Kashmir valley,” Abhiram Pankaj, a spokesman for the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), said. More were on their way, he added.

Around 5,000 extra paramilitaries in all were being deployed from this week, according to a police officer.

Some of the troops are housed in civilian community halls that have been fortified with new sandbag bunkers, reminiscent of the early 1990s when resistance against Indian rule was at its peak.

Twelve 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.

Some of those killed were accused by the Resistance Front, a local group, of being in the employ of Indian 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 Indian troops are now visible around many new checkpoints set up in recent weeks across Srinagar.

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