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Jammu and Kashmir on edge, fear of retaliation looms

Jammu and Kashmir remained on edge on Tuesday after Indian Air Force (IAF) jets dropped bombs in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, with local people saying they apprehend a retaliation from across the border.

india Updated: Feb 27, 2019 07:30 IST
Mir Ehsan and Ravi Krishnan Khajuria
Mir Ehsan and Ravi Krishnan Khajuria
Hindustan Times, Srinagar/ Jammu
Clashes erupt as Indian National Investigation Agency (NIA) launch a raid at the Kashmiri separatist leader Mohammad Yasin Malik's residence in Srinagar's Maisuma area on February 26, 2019.  Image for representation.
Clashes erupt as Indian National Investigation Agency (NIA) launch a raid at the Kashmiri separatist leader Mohammad Yasin Malik's residence in Srinagar's Maisuma area on February 26, 2019. Image for representation.(AFP photo)
         

Jammu and Kashmir remained on edge on Tuesday after Indian Air Force (IAF) jets dropped bombs in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, with local people saying they apprehend a retaliation from across the border.

War planes were seen in the early hours of Tuesday as India targeted a terror camp run by the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), which took responsibility for the suicide attack in Pulwama on February 14 in which 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF ) troopers were killed.

“I didn’t sleep through the night as the planes were roaring in the skies, and in the morning, I came to know that IAF planes had crossed the LoC. Now people are tense and everybody is apprehensive about how Pakistan will respond and if that might lead to a full-fledged war,” said engineer Tariq Ahmad, who lives in north Kashmir’s Baramulla town, where the headquarters of Indian Army’s strategic 19 infantry division, which looks after the LoC in Uri, Gulmarg and Nowgam sectors, is located. “For the residents of Baramulla, war will be worst ever nightmare,’’ he added.

Omar Tibetbakal, a member of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries based in Srinagar, said the Valley is bracing for the worst.

“For us, the last three decades have been a war like situation. We don’t want escalation, we want peace to prevail. If Pakistan retaliates, it could be a full fledged war and our state will become the main target and more civilians will get killed,” he said. “At the same time we the Kashmir issue, which is cause of problems, to be resolved.’’

Offices and shops in Srinagar stayed open amid the jittery calm. Cross-LoC trade via Kaman Bridge continued with 70 trucks in total crossing the bridge from both sides.

The Pulwama attack, which was carried out by a local Kashmiri suicide bomber, put the spotlight on local militants, who have mushroomed in the south Kashmir region since 2016, when protests against the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani swept the Kashmir Valley.

First Published: Feb 27, 2019 07:30 IST

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