At least seven people, including two armed rebels and four Indian army soldiers, have been killed in an ongoing gun battle in India-administered Kashmir. The gun battle on Monday in Pinglan village of Pulwama district comes days after 42 Indian security personnel were killed in a suicide blast – the worst such attack in 30 years of Kashmir conflict, which has raised fears of confrontation with archenemy Pakistan.
A suicide bomber rammed a car into a bus carrying Indian paramilitary police in Kashmir on Thursday, killing 44 of them in the deadliest attack in decades on security forces in the disputed region, raising tensions with arch foe Pakistan. The Pakistan-based Islamist militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) claimed responsibility for the attack. The Indian government accused Pakistan of letting militant groups operate from its soil and called on it to take action. Islamabad said it rejected the suggestion it was linked to the attack.
A fire engulfed a shoddily built budget hotel in New Delhi early Tuesday, killing 17 people, Indian authorities said. Most of the deaths at the Arpit Palace Hotel were due to suffocation, according to an official. The Arpit Palace in Karol Bagh, an area in India’s capital city full of shops and budget hotels that is popular with tourists, had 43 guest rooms, according to its website. About three dozen people were rescued from the hotel.
Indian police have been urged to abandon efforts to recover the body of an American missionary killed by an isolated tribe on a remote island, amid warnings any contact could have “catastrophic” consequences. Survival International, an NGO working for tribal rights, said the Sentinelese people living in North Sentinel could be wiped out if outside diseases were introduced onto the island. Any such mission would also pose extreme danger to Indian officials, the group said.
Fears are rising in India where tensions between the government and the central bank have been revealed to the public. The governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Urjit Patel, could reportedly resign in protest of political interference. The statement followed reports that the government has invoked special powers within the RBI Act that allow it to issue directions to the bank. The government responded to reports by saying it will respect the bank’s autonomy.
India unveiled the world’s largest statue which costs $430 million to build on Wednesday. The ‘Statue of Unity’ is twice as large as the Statue of Liberty and measures 597-feet tall. The statue is made of steel and bronze. The statue depicts Vallabhbhai Patel who was important in unifying India and leading it to independence.
Hindu protesters prevented women from entering a holy temple in Kerala despite India’s Supreme Court ruling that ‘the right to practice religion is available to both men and women.’ The temple opened its doors but women were unable to enter due to protester attacks. The Sabarimala temple was historically closed to women of ‘menstruating age.’
In the wake of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s fall and the birth of the #MeToo movement, India has joined the conversation with a collection of sexual misconduct allegations in Bollywood. The increase in reports of sexual harassment has put greater pressure on major Indian employers to respond seriously and enforce legal protections.
India’s Supreme Court made a landmark decision, ruling that gay sex is no longer a criminal offense. The decision overturns a 2013 ruling which categorized gay sex as an ‘unnatural offense.’ Discrimination based on sexual orientation is now ruled a fundamental violation of rights. India held its first gay pride parade on Saturday before results.
Former Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee died at the age of 93 on Thursday. Vajpayee eased tensions with Pakistan and improved relations with the US. At least 164 people died in the worst monsoon flood in almost a century in Kerala, India. A red alert is in place as more rains are predicted.