Four killed in attack on Indian Kashmir paramilitary camp

An Indian paramilitary soldier gestures as he runs during a gunfight in Srinagar March 13, 2013. (File photo by REUTERS)
Updated 03 October 2017
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Four killed in attack on Indian Kashmir paramilitary camp

SRINAGAR, India: Three suspected militants were killed Tuesday after they stormed a paramilitary base near the main airport of Indian-administered Kashmir, police said, ending an hours-long gunbattle that also left a soldier dead.
Three paramilitary troopers and a police officer were also injured as the trio of attackers hurled grenades and fired automatic weapons at the Border Security Force (BSF) base next to Srinagar airport before dawn, director general of police S. P. Vaid said.
“All the three militants have been killed. An assistant sub-inspector of BSF also died in the initial assault,” Vaid told AFP.
Flight operations resumed at the high-security airport after being suspended briefly, with at least one in-bound flight from New Delhi canceled, authorities said.
The base in which the gunbattle took place shares a common compound wall with the airport.
Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the end of British colonial rule in 1947 but both claim the territory in full.
For decades rebel groups have fought roughly 500,000 Indian soldiers deployed in the territory, demanding independence or a merger of the former Himalayan kingdom with Pakistan.
Tuesday’s attack came a day after Indian soldiers killed five suspected rebels near the heavily militarised Line of Control (LoC) that divides the territory with Pakistan.
In August, militants attacked a police base in the southern Kashmir town of Pulwama, killing eight security personnel. Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad claimed responsibility for that attack.
Two children were also killed on Monday during an exchange of gunfire between Indian and Pakistani troops, Indian authorities said.
Last week, Pakistan said three civilians were killed on their side of the de facto border in Kashmir after Indian soldiers opened fire.
New Delhi says Pakistan initiates cross-border firing to help anti-India rebels cross into Indian-administered Kashmir to launch attacks.
However, Islamabad says it provides only diplomatic support to the Kashmiri campaign for self-determination.


Spain threatens to send national police to Catalonia after protests

Updated 35 min 58 sec ago
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Spain threatens to send national police to Catalonia after protests

MADRID: Spain’s interior minister said he would send national police to Catalonia if local authorities did not do more to stop protests like the one that shut down major highways over the weekend.
Fernando Grande-Marlaska accused the local Catalan police of doing nothing to prevent pro-independence protesters blocking the AP-7 toll road, which runs up Spain’s Mediterranean coast, for more than 15 hours on Saturday.
The involvement of national police would be a contentious issue in the northeastern region which has its own administration and where polls suggest almost half the population wants to split away from Spain.
It would also stir memories of Madrid’s decision to send in a large contingent of national police in September last year after the Catalan government called an illegal independence referendum.
“Serious disruptions of public order and traffic security, such as those seen in the last few days, need to be dealt with by the regional police,” the minister wrote to his regional counterpart in an open letter late on Monday.
“If this does not happen ... the government will order an intervention by the state police,” he added.
Catalonia’s government would respond to the questions raised in the letter, spokeswoman Elsa Artadi said on Tuesday, without saying when or going into further detail. She repeated calls for dialogue between Madrid and Barcelona.
Spain’s previous conservative government took control of the region when the regional administration unilaterally declared independence following the Oct. 1, 2017 referendum.
Many of the Catalan politicians that took part in the declaration are in prison awaiting trial for rebellion or in exile.
Spain’s new Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez — who came to power in June — has said he is open to a referendum on greater autonomy and has promised to lay out detailed plans in parliament on Wednesday.
But Grande-Marlaska said the local authorities had to show they could keep order and prevent a repeat of Saturday’s protests.
“It was observed that there was no intervention (by the regional police) ... a reality that is difficult to deny,” he said in a radio interview on Tuesday morning.