Kashmiris were transporting the arms and ammunition to the disputed region from Indian Punjab
Three men were arrested on Thursday while allegedly transporting weapons and ammunition toward India-held Kashmir, police said.
Police intercepted the men early Thursday and seized four AK-56 assault rifles, two AK-47s, 6 magazines and 180 rounds, said official Shridhar Patil. “The truck was coming from [Indian state of] Punjab and was on its way to Kashmir. We are investigating where exactly they picked up the ammunition from,” Patil told a news conference.
Police alleged the men, all local residents of India-held Kashmir, were affiliated with Jaish-e-Mohammed, a Pakistan-based Islamist group that claimed a suicide bombing in February, also perpetrated by a local separatist, in Kashmir that killed 40 Indian troops.
Tensions have heightened in Kashmir since India stripped its part of the region, split between India and Pakistan since 1947 and the source of several conflicts, of its autonomy on Aug. 5. It cut off mobile phones and the internet and moved tens of thousands of soldiers to maintain peace, joining half a million already there in one of the world’s most militarized areas.
While a few restrictions have been eased, the Indian government continues to keep Kashmiri political leaders under detention and has not lifted severe restrictions on movement and communication.
India’s national security adviser said on Saturday that a “majority” of Kashmiris supported its move except for a “vocal minority” backed by Pakistan, which he claimed without any evidence has readied 230 militants to infiltrate Kashmir.
On Wednesday, police claimed a “militant” affiliated with Lashkar-e-Taiba, another Pakistani-based militant group, was killed by security forces.
U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said she was “deeply concerned about the impact of recent actions by the government of India on the human rights of Kashmiris.” Pakistan’s foreign minister demanded the U.N. investigate the situation, given the “risk of a genocide.” India says that it is an internal matter.