2 children killed, 5 civilians injured in blast in Indian-administered Kashmir

Violence has once again erupted in Indian-administered Kashmir, as two children were killed and five other civilians injured in a blast in the village of Dhangri. This comes just a day after assailants sprayed bullets towards a row of homes in the same area, leaving at least four dead.

The blast occurred near one of the houses targeted overnight on Monday in Dhangri, a Hindu-majority village located in the southern Rajouri district. Officials have confirmed that a five-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl died in the explosion, with the injured being treated at a nearby hospital.

On Sunday night, two gunmen indiscriminately opened fire at three houses in Dhangri, according to police officer Mukesh Singh. Four civilians were killed and five others were wounded in the attack.

Authorities believe that armed attackers were responsible for both incidents in Dhangri, which is located near the highly militarized Line of Control dividing the disputed Himalayan region between India and Pakistan. It is unclear if the explosive used in the most recent attack was left behind by the attackers from the previous night. Police and soldiers have been deployed to the area in an effort to search for the perpetrators.

Kashmir violence protest

The attacks in Dhangri have been met with outrage, with hundreds of people taking to the streets to protest against the killings. The bodies of the victims were displayed in the main square as the protesters chanted slogans condemning the attackers. They demanded that New Delhi’s top administrator in the region, Manoj Sinha, visit the village and refused to cremate the bodies until he did. Sinha eventually visited the village on Monday and met with the families of the victims, condemning the attacks as a “cowardly terror attack”. He promised that those responsible would not go unpunished.

The conflict in Indian-administered Kashmir dates back to 1989, when rebels began fighting against Indian rule. Most Muslim Kashmiris support the rebel goal of uniting the territory, either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country. India has regularly accused Pakistan of supporting the rebels, a claim that has been denied by Islamabad, which says it only provides diplomatic support for Kashmir’s struggle for the right to self-determination.

In 2019, India’s Hindu nationalist government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, scrapped Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian constitution, which had granted Indian-administered Kashmir partial autonomy. This move, along with subsequent laws and policies, has strengthened anti-India sentiment in the region and led to a surge in attacks by suspected rebels against minority communities, particularly Hindus.

The decades-long conflict has resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians, rebels, and government forces. At least 172 suspected rebels and 26 armed forces personnel were killed in fighting last year alone. The recent attacks in Dhangri have only served to escalate tensions in the region and underscore the need for a peaceful resolution to the ongoing conflict.

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