Hundreds detained in IIOJK
Hundreds detained in IIOJK

OCCUPIED SRINAGAR: Hundreds of people in restive Illegally Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) have been detained by police investigating a spate of targeted killings by suspected freedom fighters, officials told AFP Sunday.

Tensions have been heightened in the Muslim-majority region.

Seven civilians were shot dead in six days last week, sparking public outrage in IIJOK and across the country. Politicians from all sides condemned the killings.

Nearly 500 residents suspected to have links with banned groaups were detained across the IIJOK following the shootings, a senior police officer told AFP on condition of anonymity.

"No stone will be left unturned to find the killers," the officer added.

A top anti-terrorism intelligence officer was sent by New Delhi to the region to head up the investigation.

India's counter-terrorism task force, the National Investigation Agency, summoned 40 schoolteachers in the main city of occupied Srinagar for questioning on Sunday, officials said.

Authorities say at least 29 civilians - including workers from pro-India political parties - have been shot dead in IIJOK so far this year.

Twenty-two of them were Muslims, officials added.

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The latest deaths were two teachers from the minority Sikh and Hindu communities, who were shot by gunmen at a government-run school in occupied Srinagar on Thursday.

Another man was shot dead by security forces on Thursday when his car did not stop at a checkpoint.

Their deaths came two days after three civilians were killed in separate street shootings within 90 minutes.

A relatively new group The Resistance Front has claimed responsibility for the latest deaths and accused those killed of working for "occupier mercenary forces and occupier stooges".

The statements, issued only in English, were circulated in numerous WhatsApp groups. They could not be independently verified by AFP.

The killings have instilled fear among Kashmir's minorities, with local media reporting that many were fleeing the region.

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