Lockdown in disputed Kashmir after deadly violence

Several areas in India-administered Kashmir were put on lockdown a day after 11 people including six policemen, three rebels and two civilians were killed in separate gunfights.

Photo by: (AFP)
Photo by: (AFP)

Villagers carry the body of rebel commander Junaid Matoo during his funeral in south Kashmir on Saturday.

Several areas in India-administered Kashmir were put under lockdown on Saturday in response to strikes called by pro-Independence groups after violence left 11 people dead including six Indian policemen, three rebels and two civilians a day earlier.

The strikes were called in response to the killing of two civilians by the Indian soldiers on Friday following protests sparked by a gun battle in south Kashmir's Kulgam district in which three rebel fighters were killed.

Police said the civilians were part of protesters who threw stones with an intention to disturb the operation and "give chance to holed up militants to escape."

In a separate pre-dusk shootout, six Indian policemen were killed in south Kashmir's Achabal area on Friday further heightening tensions in the disputed Himalayan region.

Rising tempers

On Saturday, a massive funeral was held for the rebels in south Kashmir, reports said.

According to a local English language newspaper Kashmir Reader several rebels appeared in the funeral of their colleagues and fired many shots in air.

Meanwhile, India's army chief has voiced his support for the Indian soldiers in Kashmir.

Bipin Rawat, who has been criticised for threatening protesters in the past, said that troops are doing their best to end violence in the region.

Edgy situation

Kashmir remains on boil especially since July last year when Indian soldiers killed a popular rebel commander Burhan Wani triggering months of anti-India protests.

Since then many local boys have joined rebel groups whose killings spark massive pro-Independence and anti-India demonstrations.

Kashmir, where anti-India sentiments run deep, has been divided between Pakistan and India since the end of British colonial rule in 1947 but both lay claim to the entire territory.

Rebel groups have fought for decades roughly 500,000 Indian soldiers deployed in the territory, demanding independence or a merger of the former princely state with Pakistan.

TRTWorld and agencies