3 suspected rebels, 1 officer killed in Kashmir fighting

Indian police man a checkpoint near a gunbattle site on the outskirts of Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir on Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020. (AP)
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Updated 30 August 2020

3 suspected rebels, 1 officer killed in Kashmir fighting

  • Since January, government forces have killed about 180 militants during counterinsurgency operations

SRINAGAR, India: Three suspected rebels and a counterinsurgency officer were killed in a gunbattle on the outskirts of Indian-controlled Kashmir’s main city, police said Sunday.
An Indian soldier was also killed in Pakistani firing along their frontier in the disputed region, an army spokesperson said.
Police said the three militants Saturday night fired at a checkpoint in the outskirts of Srinagar in a failed bid to snatch a rifle from a paramilitary soldier.
Police and paramilitary soldiers later traced them hiding in a civilian home, the region’s police chief, Dilbagh Singh, told reporters. In the subsequent fighting, which lasted the whole night, a counterinsurgency officer and the three attackers were killed, he said.
Singh said that among the three slain militants, one was active for about a year. He didn’t give details about the other two.
In the last two days, seven suspected rebels and an Indian soldier were killed in two separate gunfights.
Since January, government forces have killed about 180 militants during counterinsurgency operations, according to the Jammu-Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, a rights group. Based on official figures, data shows that over half of them had joined the rebels less than a year ago, and out of them most had been active for only a few months.
At least 68 government forces and 46 civilians have been killed since January, the rights group said.
Meanwhile, an Indian soldier was killed early Sunday when Pakistani soldiers targeted some Indian frontier post along the highly militarized frontier that divides Kashmir between the two rivals in southern Rajouri district, said Lt. Col. Devender Anand, an Indian army spokesperson.
Anand called the Pakistani firing a violation of the 2003 cease-fire accord between the two countries and said Indian soldiers retaliated. Pakistan did not immediately comment. In the past, each country has accused the other of initiating the firing and violating the cease-fire agreement.
India and Pakistan claim the divided territory of Kashmir in its entirety. Most Muslim Kashmiris support the rebel cause that the territory be united either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country.


Danish PM in tears after visiting mink farmer whose animals were culled

Updated 26 November 2020

Danish PM in tears after visiting mink farmer whose animals were culled

COPENHAGEN: Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen broke down on Thursday when visiting a mink farmer who lost his herd following the government’s order this month to cull all 17 million mink in the country to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Frederiksen has faced opposition calls to resign and a vote of no confidence in parliament after an order by the government in early November, which it later admitted was illegal, to cull the country’s entire mink population.
The order was given after authorities found COVID-19 outbreaks at hundreds of mink farms, including a new strain of the virus, suspected of being able to compromise the efficacy of vaccines.
“We have two generations of really skilled mink farmers, father and son, who in a very, very short time have had their life’s work shattered,” Frederiksen told reporters after a meeting with a mink farmer and his son at their farm near Kolding in Western Denmark.
“It has been emotional for them, and... Sorry. It has for me too,” Frederiksen said with a wavering voice, pausing for breath in between words.
The move to cull Denmark’s entire mink population, one of the world’s biggest and highly valued for the quality of its fur, has left the government reeling after it admitted it did not have the legal basis to order the culling of healthy mink.
After a tumultuous couple of weeks since the order was given on Nov. 4, the Minister of Agriculture, Mogens Jensen, stepped down last week after an internal investigation revealed a flawed political process.
Denmark has proposed a ban on all mink breeding in the country until 2022. Tage Pedersen, head of the Danish mink breeders’ association, said this month the industry, which employs around 6,000 people and exports fur pelts worth $800 million annually, is finished.
Denmark’s opposition says the cull of healthy mink should not have been initiated before compensation plans were in place for the owners and workers at some 1,100 mink farms.