September 2016 News

Kashmir Attack: Pakistan Hits Back At India Accusations

19 September 2016

New Delhi: Pakistan has hit back after India accused it of masterminding a militant attack in Indian-administered Kashmir that killed 18 soldiers. A statement from Pakistan's foreign ministry condemned the 'vitriolic statements' by India. It called India's stance a 'blatant attempt' to deflect attention from human rights abuses in Kashmir. Indian Home Affairs Minister Rajnath Singh called Pakistan a 'terrorist state' soon after Sunday's attack. Seventeen soldiers died in the raid. One soldier succumbed to his injuries on Monday, taking the death toll to 18. The attack comes as violent protests against Indian rule in the disputed region continue, with a curfew imposed. More than 80 people, nearly all anti-government protesters, have died in more than two months of violence. India held a high-level meeting to discuss an 'appropriate response' to Sunday's attack - the worst on its security forces in Kashmir in years. Local media reported that Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and several top level government officials attended the meeting, held at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's official residence. Both India and Pakistan claim all of Muslim-majority Kashmir in its entirety but only control parts of it. Earlier, Mr Singh said on Twitter that 'there are definite and conclusive indications that the perpetrators of the Uri attack were highly trained, heavily armed and specially equipped'. 'I am deeply disappointed with Pakistan's continued and direct support to terrorism and terrorist groups,' he said. Indian army military operations head Lieutenant-General Ranbir Singh said there was evidence the attackers were members of an Islamist militant group in Pakistan. Pakistan's latest statement said that the situation in Indian-administered Kashmir was 'not of Pakistan's making but a direct consequence of illegal Indian occupation and a long history of atrocities'. It added that India's decision to blame Pakistan without conducting an investigation was 'deplorable'. The attack has caused a great deal of anger in India, with many calling on the government to 'strike back'. The militants infiltrated across the Line of Control from Pakistan before attacking the base, west of Srinagar, an army officer told the BBC on Sunday. Gunfire and explosions were heard for several hours. All four of the attackers were killed. Carrying guns and grenades they stormed a base in Uri, close to the Line of Control with Pakistan-administered territory in a pre-dawn ambush. Many tents and temporary shelters caught fire during the attack, according to the army's Northern Command. Twelve soldiers were killed by fires and the others died on Sunday in gun battles, the Hindustan Times reports, citing army sources. Disputed Kashmir has been a flashpoint between India and Pakistan for more than 60 years, causing two wars between the neighbours. A militant attack on an army camp in Uri in December 2014 saw at least nine members of the security forces killed. The last attack of this scale on the Indian army was in June 2015 in Manipur, north-east India, when at least 20 soldiers were killed in an attack on a troop convoy.