Pakistan not behind IHK violence: Omar Abdullah

Srinagar - Stating that Pakistan was not the architect of the current unrest in the Held Kashmir, National Conference leader and former chief minister Omar Abdullah has urged the Indian government to initiate a dialogue with all stakeholders in the Valley and with Islamabad to end the violence in the state.

"Pakistan may be fishing in troubled waters as has been their practice in the past, but they are not the architect of this problem. They are not the ones keeping it alive," he said after chairing a meeting of opposition parties in Srinagar.

In reaction, BJP state spokesperson Virender Gupta hit out at NC leader Omar Abdullah for "absolving" Pakistan of its role in the current turmoil in the Valley. "Leaders like Omar Abdullah who participated in yesterday's meeting of opposition parties in Srinagar are trying to fish in troubled waters. Omar Abdullah's tweets on a daily basis gave support to the ongoing agitation led by the extremists and terrorist groups at the behest of Pakistan," Gupta said.


Indian soldiers raided a village in restive Indian-held Kashmir overnight in an attempt to quash ongoing protests, leaving one civilian dead and dozens injured, police and witnesses said Thursday.

Villagers said soldiers from a nearby Indian army camp ransacked homes in Khrew village and beat residents with bamboo sticks, leading to the death of a teacher.

"They beat up men, women and children and took away many young men with them. We discovered the battered body of Shabir Mangoo on a village street in the morning," said one villager who asked not to be named, fearing reprisals.

Indian army spokesman Colonel NN Joshi confirmed the raid on the village 25 kilometres south-east of Srinagar, saying "the incident is being investigated".

Indian-administered Kashmir has been in the grip of almost daily anti-India protests and rolling curfews sparked by the killing on July 8 of a popular rebel leader, Burhan Wani, in a gunfight with government forces.

"One person was also found dead after the raid," a police officer told AFP on condition of anonymity, adding that around 28 villagers were taken away by the soldiers.

The army raid - the third in recent days - comes after five weeks of unrest that has left more than 60 people dead.

India has clamped down hard on protests, with the army accused of using brutal tactics to suppress demonstrators.

"First the electricity went off and soldiers soon started attacking our homes, beating up all of us including my 10-year-old niece," villager Ghulam Hassan told AFP from his hospital bed in Srinagar.

Dr Nazir Chaudhary, medical superintendent at the main SMHS hospital in Srinagar told AFP 24 injured villagers had been admitted for treatment.

A daytime curfew in place across the territory was extended to night-time Wednesday, with police forcing shops to close and soldiers setting up additional roadblocks and checkpoints to restrict residents' movement.

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