ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has regretted that Hindu extremist elements in India do not want improvement in relations between the two countries.

A senior official at the Foreign Office said violent incidents were on the rise in Maharashtra state and attacks of extremist Hindus on Muslims were a cause of concern.

In a related development, Pakistan High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit said Islamabad wanted to address all issues, including terrorism and Kashmir, through dialogue. He lamented these extremist elements in India also disrupted a scheduled meeting between the heads of cricket boards of the two countries.

Taking part in a TV programme in New Delhi, Basit said the extremist elements in India do not want improvement in sub-continental relations.

CLASHES ERUPT IN IHK OVER

BEEF KILLING

Reuters adds: At least two dozen people have been injured in clashes with police after protests erupted in Indian-held Kashmir over the killing of a Muslim by Hindus campaigning against eating beef.

The clashes in Kulgam and Anantnag districts broke out after a trucker was attacked in the Hindu-dominated Jammu region of Kashmir by a crowd believing him to be involved in transporting cows, police said.

Protesters also pelted police with stones, police said, without specifying who had been injured since Monday.

Protesters have blocked the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, the only road link to the Kashmir valley. Schools and offices remained shut in the valley following a strike called by Kashmiri leaders and traders in protest at the murder.

“We imposed restrictions in Anantnag today as a precautionary measure after there were clashes soon after the death of truck conductor Zahid Ahmad,” SJM Gillani, head of the state police, said on Tuesday, referring to curbs on the movement of traffic and people.

Tempers had already been running high in Jammu and Kashmir, India’s only Muslim majority state, after members of a little known Hindu group blackened the face of a state legislator with ink for throwing a party where he served beef.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has long advocated a ban on killing of cows, but the constitution guarantees equal rights to minority Muslims and Christians, and Modi has called for religious harmony.

Nonetheless, the government is struggling to rein in hardline Hindu groups in parts of the country.

Hindu activists have stepped up their campaign in recent weeks on issues ranging from a ban on slaughtering cows to cricket matches with Pakistan, saying their rival neighbour must first stop militant groups operating from its soil.

TROOPS CALLED IN INDIAN PUNJAB

Monitoring Desk adds: Indian Punjab remained on the boil yesterday as one more incident of sacrilege of a Sikh holy book was reported, prompting the state government to deploy paramilitary forces amid continuing agitation by activists of Sikh groups.

Sikh activists staged dharnas and took out protest marches in different cities, including Kapurthala and Hoshiarpur, throwing normal life out of gear.

The state, which has been witnessing a spate of incidents of sacrilege in the recent times, saw yet another such case in Gurusar Mehraj village in Bathinda district, police said.

“Some pages of Guru Granth Sahib were found to be torn. The situation in the village is tense,” police said.

In Tarn Taran, a man was caught and beaten up by agitated community members for allegedly trying to commit sacrilege at a gurdwara in Nagoke.