After a couple months of uneasy calm following the late February crisis over Kashmir involving two down Indian jets which allegedly entered Pakistani-administered territory to raid a “terror compound” it appears the long disputed border region is heating up again. And this a day after Pakistan on Thursday decided to use the moment of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s landslide victory to a second 5-year term in the world’s largest general election to test fire a ballistic missile with a reported 1,500 kilometer range.
It appears India has hit back in its own symbolic way, signalling it will stick by its pledge to root out jihadist militants in Kashmir, which New Delhi has long charged Pakistan with harboring and supporting. Early Friday India announced its forces raided the home of a top al-Qaeda commander in southern Kashmir the night before, sparking widespread anti-India protests in the Muslim-majority region. Zakir Rashid Bhat (also known as Zakir Musa), head of Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, a group affiliated with Al-Qaeda, via The India Times
Twenty-five year old terrorist Zakir Rashid Bhat (also known as Zakir Musa), described as India’s “most wanted militant,” was reportedly trapped when Indian commandos set fire to his three-story house, leading police shooting and killing him during a counterinsurgency operation in the southern Tral area. “As we were clearing debris from the house, he tried to get up. Our troops fired at him and he was killed,” one police official told Reuters.
The controversial raid has again put tensions with Pakistan on edge, and has further forced Indian authorities to place the administrative region on lock down, fearing the spread of more unrest. According to Reuters:
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