Five more killed in Indian-administered Kashmir

Four protesters and a police officer were killed in Indian-administered Kashmir, police said, raising the death toll since Friday to 20 in violence sparked by the death of a separatist leader.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

An injured man is rushed to a hospital after he was injured during clashes between police and protesters, in Srinagar, July 10, 2016

Four protesters and a police officer were killed in India-administered Kashmir, police said, raising the number of deaths since Friday  to 20, in violence sparked by the death of a separatist leader.

The protests erupted after security forces shot dead 22-year-old Hizb-ul Mujahideen leader Burhan Wani on Friday evening.

Jammu and Kashmir Police Director General K. Rajendra Kumar told media that 100 members of the security forces had been wounded and that three were missing.

In addition, "miscreants threw a police vehicle into River Jhelum," south of Srinagar, killing the officer inside, he said.

On Saturday, police said that angry crowds set fire to three police stations and two government buildings south of Srinagar, also blocking roads.

Kumar put the number of deaths of protestors at 15, but a second officer, who asked to remain anonymous, said four more died on Sunday in clashes with security forces, raising the total number of deaths to 20.

Confrontations continued on Sunday despite the authorities imposing round-the-clock curfew conditions on most of the Kashmir valley, the officer said.

Wani was the leader of Hizb-ul Mujahideen, a group fighting Indian control of the Muslim-majority region. His social media videos show him wearing military fatigues and calling for jihad.

Activists and separatist leaders have criticised the security forces' response to the protests, accusing them of using excessive force.

"It is shocking and painful that Indian armed forces have yet again unleashed terror on the mourners and protesters, resulting in massive civilian casualties," Khurram Parvez, an activist with rights group the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition for Civil Society, said in a statement.

The local government has appealed to the public and separatist political leaders to help calm the situation.

Meanwhile, The Indian Express, quoting an official report, had said that 30 people including 29 civilian protesters and a policeman have been killed since Friday. 

Hostile relations between India and Pakistan have been largely shaped by border problems resulting from the partition of British India in 1947 when Muslims and Hindus agreed to declare their own independent states.

Kashmiri resistance groups in Indian-administered Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence or reunification with neighbouring Pakistan since 1989.

India currently stations over half a million soldiers in the territory  to prevent a nationalist uprising.

The parties have maintained a peace process aimed at resolving the border problems and the Kashmir issue for a long time, but the talks have been frequently interrupted due to the lack of a common understanding and sporadic cross-border terror attacks in both countries.

Indian anger at Pakistan over its alleged support for militancy reached a peak when an Islamabad court released Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, a Pakistani national who was convicted as the mastermind of 2008 that killed more than 200 people in Mumbai.  

TRTWorld and agencies