Five freedom fighters were martyred and a soldier of the Indian army was killed on Friday in the latest series of clashes in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) that have left 17 dead in two weeks, police said.
The six died in a gunfight in the Rajpora area of the occupied valley that started Thursday night. The Himalayan disputed region has seen a new rise in unrest in recent weeks.
Three suspected rebels were martyred by the Indian army in the Kulgam forest on Wednesday, a day after police claimed an influential rebel commander Nadeem Abrar was martyred while in custody.
The commander, captured on Monday, was taken to a house where he had hidden a rifle and was martyred, police said.
Suspected rebels have used hand grenades and automatic weapons in other earlier attacks, killing six people including a police intelligence officer, a special police officer and his wife and daughter, a shopkeeper and one civilian.
The military said on Thursday that 61 suspected rebels have been martyred this year so far.
The surge in violence came after 14 pro-India leaders from IIOJK held talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month.
The leaders included three former chief ministers of the former Jammu and Kashmir state who were detained for months after the Modi government cancelled IIOJK's semi-autonomous status in August 2019. It is now divided into two territories ruled by Delhi.
Public disenchantment with New Delhi has steadily increased in the region, where an insurgency against Indian occupation forces erupted in 1989. The conflict has left tens of thousands dead, mainly civilians.
Pakistan slams extra-judicial killing of 17-year-old Kashmiri
Meanwhile, Pakistan strongly condemned the extra-judicial killing of a 17-year-old innocent Kashmiri, Zakir Bashir, by the occupation forces in the Kulgam district of IIOJK.
Reportedly, the teenage cricketer was brutally tortured by the Indian forces before being shot dead. "The extra-judicial killings, torture in custody, enforced disappearances and incarcerations have become a norm in IIOJK to suppress the Kashmiris," Foreign Office Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said in a statement.
Also read: Masood condemns killing of IIOJK youth
He said that during this year alone, the Indian occupation forces have extra-judicially killed 57 innocent Kashmiris; arbitrarily detained and arrested 350 Kashmiris; and destroyed 58 houses of the Kashmiri people.
India’s gross and systematic human rights violations in IIOJK warrant investigation by the UN Commission of Inquiry (COI), as recommended by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in its reports of 2018 and 2019, the spokesperson added.
"India must realise that no amount of brutalisation can subjugate the Kashmiris nor break their will in their struggle for the right to self-determination," the FO statement added.
"We urge the international community to fulfil its obligation of protecting defenceless Kashmiris against the egregious human rights violations in IIOJK and hold India accountable for its serious crimes against humanity."
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