ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Monday “strongly” condemned what it called the arrest of over 1,400 people in Indian-administered Kashmir, as police in the region said security forces had detained more than 300 people for questioning in recent days to stem a wave of targeted killings that was spread ingpanic among minority groups.
Three Hindus and a Sikh were killed in the Muslim-majority region last week, leading police to say religious minorities were being targeted.
Small groups of militants armed with pistols have carried out a spate of killings in recent weeks, taking the number of civilians murdered in Kashmir this year to at least 28, according to police records published by media.
Kashmir has been wracked by an insurgency for decades. It is claimed in full by both India and Pakistan but ruled in parts by the neighbors.
“Pakistan strongly condemns the arrest of over 1400 Kashmiris on false charges in one of the biggest ever crackdowns,” the foreign office said, calling the detentions a “trampling of fundamental human rights.”
“The recent surge in extra-judicial killings, staged cordon-and-search operations and arbitrary arrests ... are a source of serious alarm for the international community,” the statement added. “India must recognize that no amount of brutalization of Kashmiris can suppress their voice and the legitimate movement to achieve their inalienable right to self-determination.”
Those detained included members of the banned religious organization Jamaat-e-Islami, an umbrella alliance known as the Hurriyat Conference, and others with previous links to militant groups, police told Reuters.
Investigators have also summoned 40 schoolteachers as part of their probe into the killing last week of one Hindu and one Sikh teacher in a government school in Indian-administered Kashmir’s main city of Srinagar, according to a police document seen by Reuters.
Police officials say small bands of militants from The Resistance Front, which they describe as a new formation of insurgent groups, are targeting civilians and political workers in Kashmir.
Pakistan rejects India’s longstanding allegations that it is helping militant groups in Kashmir, saying it provides only moral and diplomatic support to the Kashmiri people.