Key trends in South Asia last week include: continuing attacks on opponents of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA) across India; security operations against domestic rebel groups by Indian security forces in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K); and an escalation of ceasefire violations across the Line of Control (LoC) between India and Pakistan.
In India, nationwide demonstrations continued against the CAA. In several states anti-CAA demonstrators were attacked by supporters of the Act and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In Delhi, two unidentified men opened fire at the site of an anti-CAA demonstration. This was the third such incident of shooting at demonstrators in the past two weeks.
The surge in attacks on anti-CAA demonstrators was seemingly instigated by comments by BJP leaders inciting violence against the demonstrators (National Herald, 9 February, 2020). Several BJP leaders openly advocated the use of violence against anti-CAA demonstrators during campaigning for Delhi’s Legislative Assembly election, terming the election a battle between “India and Pakistan” (BBC, 29 January 2020). Social media posts from the ruling party have often glorified these acts of violence, which critics believe to be a clear attempt from BJP to further stigmatize the Muslim population (Al Jazeera, 9 February, 2020).
Meanwhile, Indian security forces continued their operation against militant outfit Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in J&K. One HM militant, one LeT militant, and one Indian security personnel were killed during the operation. Ceasefire violations across the LoC between India and Pakistan also escalated last week. Three Pakistani security personnel, one Indian security personnel, and one Indian civilian were killed during cross-border shelling and ceasefire violations between the two nations. Additionally, nationwide demonstrations were held in Pakistan by political parties including the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) to observe “Kashmir Solidarity Day”. Protesters demanded the Kashmiri people’s right to self-determination under United Nations resolutions.
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