Modi says Pakistan will pay 'huge price' for Kashmir bombing

Modi says Pakistan will pay 'huge price' for Kashmir bombingIndia's prime minister yesterday accused Pakistan of involvement in the suicide bombing that killed 44 paramilitary police in Kashmir on Thursday, and warned of a dire response. Narendra Modi said the neighbouring country had made a "huge mistake" for which it will pay a "huge price". Speaking after a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security, Mr Modi declared that India's security forces had been given "full freedom" to respond to the attack. "If our neighbour thinks it can destabilise India, then it is making a big mistake," he said.  Mr Modi was reacting to claims from the Pakistan-based Islamist militant group, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), that it carried out the attack on a paramilitary convoy on the outskirts of Kashmir’s summer capital, Srinagar. India’s foreign office demanded that Islamabad take "immediate and verifiable action" against the JeM. New Delhi has also withdrawn trade privileges extended to Pakistan under their long-standing Most Favoured Nation (MFN) agreement as part of "diplomatically isolating" Islamabad, said senior federal minister Arun Jaitley. Pakistan, however, has dismissed all Indian charges of any involvement in the bombing, which it said was a "matter of grave concern".  Police detain a demonstrator during a protest against the attack on a bus that killed 44 CRPF personnel in south Kashmir on Thursday Credit: Reuters Over 2,700 Central Reserve Police Force paramilitary personnel were travelling to Srinagar in a 78-vehicle convoy when a 22-year old suicide bomber, identified as Adil Ahmad Dar, rammed his car packed with over 125bs of plastic explosives into one of the stationary busses. Police officials said Dar, a school dropout who had earlier worked in a sawmill near Srinagar, was reported missing since late last year.   The JeM has been active in Kashmir since its founding in 2000 and India holds it responsible for attacking its parliament building in New Delhi in 2001, an assault that brought the nuclear-armed neighbours to the brink of war. The JeM has been designated a ‘terrorist’ organisation by the UN, UK and the US, and even, under foreign pressure, proscribed in Pakistan since 2002. But its founder, cleric Masood Azhar, freely roams the country, holding public meetings and fund-raising drives. Indian efforts to have Azhar designated an international terrorist have long been been blocked by Pakistan’s close strategic ally China.     India claims Pakistan, which seized a third of Kashmir after independence in 1947 and lays claim to the rest, fuels the disputed province’s 30-year Muslim insurgency for an independent homeland in which over 70,000 people had died. Students hold candles during a vigil for the dead paramilitary police Credit: Reuters Pakistan denies Indian allegations, saying it only provided Kashmiri separatists’ moral and diplomatic support for their cause.  The two neighbours have fought two of their three wars since independence over Kashmir. And in 1999, soon after both became nuclear weapon states, their two armies clashed in Kashmir’s Himalayan Kargil region for 11-weeks resulting in 1,200 soldiers dying on both sides.  Meanwhile, India’s principal Opposition Congress Party, virulently opposed to Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party government, has offered its unequivocal support to the administration to deal with the crisis posed by the terror strike. The authorities have also imposed curfew in Kashmir’s winter capital Jammu following violent protests that erupted in the city over the terror attack. Several cars were set alight and the authorities have suspended Internet services in Jammu to prevent rumours  spreading over social media.



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