02 January 2023

Two children killed in blast in Kashmir village

02 January 2023

Two children have been killed and five other civilians wounded in a blast in a village in Indian-controlled Kashmir, a day after attackers sprayed bullets at a row of homes, leaving at least four dead.

Police said the blast on Monday occurred near one of the houses targeted overnight in Dhangri village in southern Rajouri district.

A five-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl died in the blast. The injured were being treated at a hospital.

On Sunday night, two gunmen opened fire on three houses in Dhangri, police officer Mukesh Singh told reporters. He said four civilians were killed and five others were wounded.

Police blamed militants fighting against Indian rule for carrying out the two attacks at Dhangri, which is close to the highly militarised ‘line of control’ that divides the disputed region between India and Pakistan.

It was unclear whether the explosive was left behind by the attackers.

Authorities rushed police and soldiers to the area and were searching for the attackers.

Hundreds of people assembled in Dhangri to protest against the killings, chanting slogans denouncing the attackers. Nearly three dozen people in the southern city of Jammu also protested against the killings that Manoj Sinha, New Delhi’s senior administrator in the region, condemned as a “cowardly terror attack”.

“I assure the people that those behind this despicable attack will not go unpunished,” he said.

India and Pakistan each claim the divided territory of Kashmir in its entirety.

Rebels in the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir have been fighting New Delhi’s rule since 1989. Most Muslim Kashmiris support the rebel goal of uniting the territory, either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country.

India insists the Kashmir militancy is Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. Pakistan denies the charge, and most Kashmiris consider it a legitimate freedom struggle. Tens of thousands of civilians, rebels and government forces have been killed in the conflict.

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