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Trump asks Modi, Imran to down tensions over Kashmir

Published : Wednesday, 21 August, 2019 at 12:00 AM  Count : 678

JAMMU, Aug 20: A Indian soldier was killed and four others were injured as Pakistani troops targeted forward posts and villages along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch district on Tuesday.
Violating ceasefire, firing started from Pakistan side in Krishna Ghati sector of Poonch around 11 am. Pakistan fired with small arms and mortars, 'Indian army replied befittingly', officials said.  Pakistan had last week alleged that Indian forces had killed three of its soldiers and summoned India's deputy high commissioner, Gaurav Ahluwalia, to protest the alleged ceasefire violations.
US President Donald Trump spoke with the leaders of India and Pakistan on Monday, discussing prospects for improved trade ties with Washington and stressing the need to reduce tensions over Kashmir between the nuclear-armed neighbors.
"Spoke to my two good friends, Prime Minister Modi of India, and Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan, regarding Trade, Strategic Partnerships and, most importantly,     for India and Pakistan to work towards reducing tensions in Kashmir. A tough situation, but good conversations!" Trump said in a Twitter post.
Trump spoke with Imran for the second time in four days about the tensions in the Kashmir and Jammu regions. "The President reaffirmed the need to avoid escalation of the situation, and urged restraint on both sides," the White House said.
Security forces detained 30 people overnight in Indian Kashmir's main city of Srinagar, local officials said on Tuesday, seeking to keep a tight lid on protests over the federal government's decision to strip the region of its autonomy.
Crowds have demonstrated frequently in the city despite a severe clampdown on phone and internet services, a ban on public gatherings and detentions of hundreds of political leaders and separatists who have long campaigned for secession from India.     -REUTERS
Youth have pelted stones at paramilitary police deployed in Srinagar, and the latest detentions took place in parts of the city where such incidents have occurred, a police officer said.
"These arrests have been made in the areas where there has been intensifying stone pelting in the last few days," the officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.
The withdrawal of the special privileges of Muslim majority Kashmir means residents of all parts of India can buy property and compete for government jobs and college places, raising fears that it will be flooded with outsiders.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's surprise move has also increased tensions with arch rival Pakistan which lays claim to Kashmir and has accused India of human rights violations in the territory at the heart of more than 70 years of hostility between them.
Authorities in Indian Kashmir on Monday said the protests were local and small in nature involving no more than a dozen people. Still, primary schools remained deserted on Tuesday as they were the previous day as parents worried about the safety of their children kept them at home.
Reuters visited three schools in Srinagar including Presentation Convent Higher Secondary School and no students had turned up and classes were deserted.
"Some teachers reported to duty but left as there were no students", said an official of the school.
Authorities had ordered schools to reopen on Monday after a two-week closure as a sign of normalcy. Srinagar's top city official Shahid Choudhary asked schools to ensure resumption of bus services.
A driver, however, said it was difficult to operate buses in such a volatile situation. "It is very risky for us and the students," he said.     




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