India’s army said Tuesday it had killed the mastermind of a major suicide bomb attack in Kashmir which it blamed on Pakistan, as calls grew for reprisals over the deaths of more than 40 paramilitaries and soldiers, reports reuters.
Indian forces have staged operations since Thursday’s attack while anti-Pakistan and anti-Kashmir sentiment has spread across the country, fuelled by social media including widely , false news reports.
Three militants from the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) group, which claimed responsibility for the suicide attack, were killed in a gunbattle that lasted much of Monday, Lieutenant General Kanwal Jeet Singh Dhillon told a press conference in Srinagar.
Two of the militants were Pakistanis, including the group’s “chief operations commander” in Kashmir, the army general said.
Dhillon said the attack had been “masterminded” by Pakistan, and specifically its powerful Inter-Services Intelligence branch.
Pakistan, which banned the JeM in 2002, has denied any role in the attack.
The attack on a military convoy by an explosives-packed car was the deadliest assault on security personnel in Kashmir for three decades.
India accuses Pakistan of supporting JeM, one of a host of groups fighting the Indian presence in Kashmir. Islamabad denies the charge.
The deaths of the Indian security men have triggered nationwide anger.