Police, Soldier Arrested in Connection With Civilian Deaths in Kashmir

Posted August 8th, 2011 at 12:10 pm (UTC-5)
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Indian officials said Monday that a soldier and a police officer have been arrested in connection with the killing of a civilian in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

Security forces had claimed that they killed a senior commander of the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba during a gunbattle.

But an autopsy determined the victim was a civilian with no ties to the militants.

Earlier, officials in Kashmir announced the arrest of two other police officers in connection with the death of a 28-year-old shopkeeper last month.

Parts of Indian-controlled Kashmir were shut down last week after separatists called a general strike to protest the death of the shopkeeper while in police custody.

Human rights groups say a policy of rewards for killing militants has led to abuses by security forces. They say thousands of Kashmiri civilians have died since the anti-India insurgency began in 1989.

In 2007, several police officers were arrested for killing civilians and passing them off as armed militants.

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan and claimed in full by both. Muslim separatists have been fighting for Kashmir's independence from Hindu-majority India or a merger with Muslim-majority Pakistan.