09:53 GMT +318 October 2019
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    Chinese Flags Found on Protesters in Kashmir, Observers See No Cause for Concern

    © AFP 2019 / Mark RALSTON
    Asia & Pacific
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    It is common to find Pakistani flags on protesters in Kashmir, but this was the first time that Chinese flags have been recovered in a joint raid by security forces and intelligence agencies.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — Indian armed forces claim to have recovered ‘seditious anti-India publicity materials’ like leaflets and pamphlets, national flags of the Peoples’ Republic of China, letter heads of terror organizations, crude bombs and unauthorized mobile phones from around 700 homes in northern part of Kashmir in a raid which lasted over 12 hours on Tuesday.

    The Indian Army said they have apprehended 44 people from ten “sensitive localities,” including Qazi Hamam, Ganai Hamam, Taweed Gunj, Jamia and other small settlements.

    During the last month, militants have repeatedly attacked army camps and security personnel in these areas. North Kashmir has witnessed a surge in violence by home grown militants in the last 100 days following the death of militant Burhan Wani in clashes with the Indian armed forces.

    Notwithstanding the concerned raised by a section of the Indian media, Brigadier Gurmeet Kanwal (Retired), Distinguished Fellow, Institute of Defense and Security Analyses, says, “It would not be appropriate to read too much into this at this stage. However, it could be part of Pakistan's efforts to drum up support for China's interests in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.”

    Nonetheless, the Indian establishment is concerned about the incessant violence in the valley and suspect locals of supporting militants. However, the Indian government has chosen not to comment on the recovery of Chinese flags in the recent raids.

    Manoj Joshi, Senior Fellow at Observer Research Foundation says, “I think these are just an expression of protest. That is why you often see Pakistani and ISIS [Daesh] flags in demonstrations. These do not reflect any closeness to these countries or organizations, but just as a means of protesting against India. I don't think India should get too worried about this.”


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