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India seizes weapons “en route to Kashmir”

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — Three people were arrested in India on Thursday on suspicion of belonging to a Pakistan-based militant group as they were transporting weapons and ammunition to tense Kashmir, police said.

Indian forces arrested the suspects Thursday morning and confiscated four AK-56 assault rifles, two AK-47 assault rifles, six ammunition boxes and 180 bullets, police official Sridhar Patel said.

“The truck was coming from Punjab and en route to Kashmir,” Patil told a news conference. “We are investigating to find out where they got this amount.”

According to police, the three suspects live in Kashmir and belong to the Jaish-e-Mohammad group, which claimed responsibility for a suicide attack in February that killed 40 paramilitary troops in Kashmir, in an event that triggered a serious crisis between India and Pakistan.

Kashmir has been divided between the two countries since the end of British colonialism in 1947. It was the cause of two wars and long clashes between the two nuclear arch rivals, most recently in February.

New Delhi accuses Islamabad of backing separatist rebels for decades in Indian Kashmir, a charge Pakistan denies.

Tensions between the two countries reached a high point in early August after Indian authorities announced the repeal of Article 370 of the Constitution, which granted Kashmir a special status. The Indian government justified its decision to fight “terrorism and separatism” in Muslim-majority Kashmir.

In an effort to curb unrest and demonstrations, New Delhi has for weeks completely cut off Kashmiris and cut off all means of communication.

Although some restrictions have been eased, a number of Kashmiri political officials remain in detention. Mobility and communications are still difficult in the region.

On Monday, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet expressed her “grave concern at the recent actions” of India and stressed “the importance of consulting the people of Kashmir on decisions about their future.”

For its part, Pakistan asked the Human Rights Council of the United Nations to open an investigation into India’s steps in Indian Kashmir, and said it feared “genocide”.

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