Indian authorities alarmed over signs of increasing militancy in Kashmir

Kashmiri relatives and friends of slain Indian paramilitary soldier Sharief-Ud-Din-Ganaie mourn during his funeral at Nagam Chadoora village of central Budgam district on Sunday. (AFP)
Updated 03 January 2018
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Indian authorities alarmed over signs of increasing militancy in Kashmir

NEW DELHI: The involvement of two local Kashmiri boys in a suicide attack on a paramilitary camp in Indian-administered Kashmir on Sunday has rung alarm bells among security personnel and political experts who have rarely witnessed homegrown suicide bombers.
Fardeen Mohiuddin Khanday and Manzoor Ahmad Baba, age 16 and 21 respectively, were among the three suicide bombers who targeted the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) camp at Lethpora in Pulwama in Kashmir on Dec. 31 in which five security personnel were killed.
Khanday was from Hiana in Tral area of Kashmir and Baba from Drubgam in Pulwama district of the valley.
“It is a serious and worrisome sign,” said Suresh Paul Vaid, director general of police of Jammu and Kashmir.
Talking to Arab News, he said: “We are taking this matter seriously and are having high-level discussions.”
Masood Hussain, the editor of Kashmir Life, a weekly magazine from Srinagar, also expressed alarm at this development.
“This is the first time we have local boys going inside a military establishment and blowing themselves up. It is a new aspect of militancy that we have not witnessed before,” said Hussain to Arab News.
“This is the first time that the entire operation has been carried out by local boys. Security personnel here admit that this is a very disturbing trend in militancy in Kashmir,” he added.
However, Srinagar-based senior journalist, Yusuf Jameel, said: “It is not a good sign for Kashmir that young educated boys are joining the militants.
“This new trend of youngsters joining militants began after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Burhan Wani, in July 2016 who was an icon for the new generation.”
Immediately after the attack on the CRPF camp, the militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed released a video message by Fardeen who blamed what is described as “Kashmir’s occupation by India” and ravaging “the modesty of our women” as the reason for “the rise in militancy in the valley.”
Well-known Kashmiri academic, Professor Siddiq Wahid, called it “a response to force with force.”
“It proves once again that India’s use of state force against both civilians and militants is not the answer to the Kashmir conundrum.”
Wahid stresses that youth are being driven to this kind of extreme violence due to “the lack of dialogue, the Indian government’s taking the Kashmiris for granted, and the lack of international attention to a dispute that is among the most complicated in the world today and is at the center of three nuclear states.
“Prime Minister Modi’s insistence on the insignificance of dialogue, its denial of Pakistan’s role in the dispute, and its insistence on nothing short of total surrender by Kashmiris has added new dimensions and accelerated the critical aspects of the problem.”
Jameel said that the “desperation” among the youth is due to “the sense of injustice and the government is not willing to address that injustice.”


Trump orders halt to family separations

British PM Theresa May said images of migrant children kept in cage-like units were deeply disturbing. (Getty)
Updated 20 June 2018
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Trump orders halt to family separations

  • Pictures and accounts of the separations sparked outrage and a rebellion among Republicans in Trump’s own party
  • Trump said that even with the change, border enforcement will be “equally tough, if not tougher.”

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump ordered an end to the separation of migrant children from their parents on the US border Wednesday, reversing a tough policy under heavy pressure from his fellow Republicans, Democrats and the international community.
The spectacular about-face comes after more than 2,300 children were stripped from their parents and adult relatives after illegally crossing the border since May 5 and placed in tent camps and other facilities, with no way to contact their relatives.
Pictures and accounts of the separations sparked outrage and a rebellion among Republicans in Trump’s own party, as well as international accusation that the US was committing human rights violations.
“What we have done today is we are keeping families together,” Trump said as he signed the executive order. “I didn’t like the sight or the feeling of families being separated.”
Trump said that even with the change, border enforcement will be “equally tough, if not tougher.”
For weeks, Trump had insisted he was bound by the law to split the children from their parents and that only Congress could resolve the problem — before he radically shifted gears.
“We want security for our country,” Trump said. “And we will have that — at the same time, we have compassion, we want to keep families together.”
The order says the Department of Homeland Security — and not the Justice and Health and Human Services Departments, as under previous policy — would have continuing responsibility for the families.
It also suggests the government intends to hold the families indefinitely by challenging an existing statute, the 1997 Flores Settlement, that places a 20-day limit on how long children, along or with their parents, can be detained.
That move could lead to new legal battles for the administration.
Trump said there was a need to remain tough to prevent crime.
“We still have to maintain toughness, or our country will be overrun by people, by crime, by all of the things that we don’t stand for and we don’t want,” he said.
Earlier, as countries marked World Refugee Day Wednesday, world leaders assailed Trump for the separations.
British Prime Minister Theresa May, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Council of Europe and Pope Francis all took issue with the “zero tolerance” policy.
May said images of migrant children kept in cage-like units were “deeply disturbing,” and the Council of Europe, a global human rights watchdog, said Trump had abdicated any claim to moral leadership in the world.
“A person’s dignity does not depend on them being a citizen, a migrant, or a refugee. Saving the life of someone fleeing war and poverty is an act of humanity,” the pope said on Twitter.
After a downturn last year, since October, the number of migrants seeking to cross the southwest US border from impoverished Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, as well as from Mexico, has surged.
From March to May this year, more than 50,000 people a month were apprehended for illegally crossing the border from Mexico. About 15 percent of those are arriving as families, and eight percent as unaccompanied children.
Nearly all of the families, and many others, have officially requested asylum, citing the incessant violence in their home countries.
The zero tolerance policy, with mandatory separation of children from adults, was announced May 7 as a deterrent.
The issue struck an emotional chord, amid accounts of children screaming and crying in facilities prepared for them.
“We were outside, and you could hear voices of children that appeared to be playing or laughing,” pediatrician Marsha Griffin told AFP in El Paso.
“But when they opened the door, we saw around 20 to 30 10-year-old boys in one of these chain-link enclosures, and they were crying and screaming and asking for their mothers.”
Trump did not say how the 2,300-plus children already taken from their families would be reunited. On Tuesday, a top official from the Department of Health and Human Services admitted they have no system in place to do so.