Local media say Asrar Ahmed Khan was hit by pellets fired by Indian forces on August 6 in Soura enclave of capital Srinagar, a day after India scrapped the disputed region's autonomy sparking unrest in Kashmir and angering neighbouring Pakistan.

Men with pellet wounds are treated inside a house in Soura, a neighbourhood which has seen regular clashes with Indian troops, in Srinagar on August 14, 2019.
Men with pellet wounds are treated inside a house in Soura, a neighbourhood which has seen regular clashes with Indian troops, in Srinagar on August 14, 2019. (Reuters)

An 18-year-old teenager has died in India-administred Kashmir nearly a month after he was wounded in pellet firing, the first officially reported death since India flooded Kashmir with troops, prompting tighter curbs in parts of the city of Srinagar fearing a reaction.

Asrar Ahmed Khan, a resident of Srinagar's Ilahibagh area, died on Tuesday night, succumbing to wounds he suffered during August 6 protests, three officials said.

The India army, however, said the teenager died after being hit by stone-pelting protesters in the restive region.

"He was reportedly injured with a blunt object in law and order situation where a violent crowd was indulging in stone pelting," the region's top police official Dilbag Singh said.

Local media, including a report by the local News18 network, however, said the teenager had died from pellet injuries sustained during a protest against the Indian government.

There have been two deaths reported earlier by media but they been challenged by authorities.

Lockdown endures 

Parts of Srinagar's old quarter, which has often been a centre for protests were locked down on Wednesday, a government official and a Reuters witness said.

Concertina wire barriers have been strung across roads, manned by armed paramilitary in full-riot gear, and movement of people had been tightened, the witness said.

On August 5, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government stripped the part of Kashmir it controls of its nominal autonomy.

Ahead of its shock announcement, India rushed tens of thousands of extra troops to the region to join 500,000 already in the valley and imposed a strict communications clampdown that has now entered its 31st day.

Indian forces have also detained several thousand people, according to multiple sources, including local politicians.

A senior government source told AFP news agency last week that at least 500 protests and incidents of stone-throwing have occurred since August 5, leaving nearly 100 civilians and 400 members of the Indian security forces injured.

AFP has spoken to relatives of three people they alleged have died –– including a man and woman in separate incidents after tear gas was released near them, and a teenager who drowned while being chased by police.

By stripping Indian-controlled Kashmir of its special status, New Delhi blocked the region's right to frame its own laws and allowed non-residents to buy property. 

New Delhi said the change would help Kashmir's development, to the benefit of all, but its "annexation" move angered many residents of the region and was strongly condemned by Pakistan, which claims Kashmir in entirety. 

India 'sowing seeds of war'

On Wednesday, Pakistan's military spokesman said India's actions in disputed Kashmir were endangering regional peace.

"The situation in Kashmir has become a big danger in the region...the Indian action in Kashmir is sowing seeds of war," said Major General Asif Ghafoor, chief spokesman for Pakistan's armed forces in a televised press conference.

"We do not want to take the conflict to that point where the regional and world peace is endangered," he added.

Kashmir has waged a three-decade-long armed rebellion against Indian rule with tens of thousands of lives, mostly civilians, lost in the conflict. 

India often accuses Pakistan of training and arming rebel groups that have been fighting since 1989 for Kashmir’s independence from India or its merger with Pakistan, a charge Islamabad denies.

Pakistan says it only provides moral and diplomatic support to these groups.

Most Kashmiris support the rebels’ demand that the territory be united either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country, while also participating in civilian street protests against Indian control.

India's Home Ministry named Pakistan's Masood Azhar, chief of Jaish-e-Mohammed, and Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba, as terrorists under the amended Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act.

Azhar's name has already been placed by the United Nations on a sanctions blacklist after his group claimed responsibility for a February suicide attack in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed 40 Indian soldiers and took India and Pakistan close to war.

The United Nations in May imposed a travel ban and freeze on Azhar's assets as well as an arms embargo.

Saeed, an anti-India cleric, runs a charity in Pakistan known as Jamaat-ud-Dawa. The charity is widely believed to serve as a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba, the group blamed for attacks in Mumbai in 2008 that killed 166 people.

'World's largest prison' 

Meanwhile, Organization of Islamic Cooperation's rights watchdog said late on Tuesday that India has turned disputed Kashmir into the "world's largest prison" and urged India to allow fact-finding missions into the region.

The Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission said it was "appalled by the continuation of stifling inhuman security blockade/curfew and communication blackout imposed by Indian security forces since 5th August 2019 with no letting up in sight despite widespread international condemnation."

The British government also put its weight behind the call, insisting that allegations of human rights violations in India-administered Kashmir must be "thoroughly, promptly and transparently" investigated. 

Source: TRTWorld and agencies