Rajnath Singh in Kashmir amid tensions over civilians deaths

Defense Minister Rajnath Singh is presently undertaking a visit to Indian-administered Kashmir, where the deaths of three civilians, allegedly while in army custody, have sparked renewed tensions. These individuals were detained for questioning in the aftermath of a suspected militant attack that resulted in the deaths of four soldiers. Accusations from the local community of mistreatment by army personnel led to a police inquiry. Although the army has not officially commented, it has stated its collaboration with the investigation and initiated its own inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the fatalities.

During his visit to assess security measures, Rajnath Singh expressed concern for the injured soldiers, highlighting the significance of each army personnel. He assured that requisite steps were being taken to probe the incident. As part of his visit, he is anticipated to meet with the families of the deceased civilians in the Poonch district. The fatalities have triggered anger in the region, prompting calls for a thorough investigation.

In response to escalating protests, authorities suspended mobile internet services in Poonch and adjacent districts. Kashmir, long characterized as a heavily militarized zone, has seen security forces facing allegations of misconduct, including beatings and torture. While both India and Pakistan claim Kashmir, they control only specific portions of the territory. The Indian army has been engaged in quelling a separatist insurgency for over three decades, with India accusing Pakistan of fomenting violence—a charge that Pakistan denies.

In the recent incident, at least eight civilians were reportedly detained by the army for questioning following the militant attack. Subsequently, three were found dead, displaying signs of severe torture, as asserted by their families. A circulating video on social media purportedly depicted Indian army personnel mistreating the individuals. The police registered a murder case, and the Indian Army affirmed its commitment to aiding the investigation. This situation contributes to long-standing grievances concerning alleged misconduct by security forces in the region.

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