SRINAGAR, Indian-controlled Kashmir, July 14 (Xinhua) — Local authorities said on Thursday they were taking all efforts to treat people injured in ongoing clashes in restive Indian-controlled Kashmir.
“As per the confirmation received from various agencies, so far 31 civilians have lost their precious lives, during the law and order disturbances in the past few days,” a government spokesman said. “1,640 persons have been treated for injuries in various government hospitals.”
Of the injured, according to government, 134 persons were hit by pellets in eyes and have undergone eye surgeries.
Doctors who performed the eye surgeries of the wounded at SMHS hospital in Srinagar said majority of them would lose eyesight.
The federal government has sent a team of eye specialists to treat people who have suffered ophthalmic and other traumas.
While the government said 31 people were killed in the since Saturday, local media reports put the death toll at 38.
Protests broke out in the Muslim-majority region after Indian troops killed top commander of Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) Burhan Muzaffar Wani, along with two associates. The 22-year-old Wani was the poster boy of HM, the region’s indigenous militant outfit.
Life in Muslim majority areas of the region including the capital city of Srinagar remained paralyzed for the sixth straight day due to curfew and separatist call for shutdown.
Hundreds of Indian paramilitary troopers and police personnel were deployed across towns and some villages to enforce restrictions and prevent clashes.
However, reports of clashes between irate youth and government forces continued in various places. The youth threw stones and brickbats on contingents of police and paramilitary, who responded by firing tear smoke shells, pellets and bullets.
In 2010, a similar wave of violence hit the region and claimed over 100 lives during clashes that lasted for months.
Anti-India sentiment runs deep in the psyche of majority of Kashmiris. A separatist movement and guerrilla war challenging New Delhi’s rule has been going on in Indian-controlled Kashmir since 1989.
Kashmir, the Himalayan region divided between India and Pakistan is claimed by both in full. Since their Independence from Britain, the two countries have fought three wars, two exclusively over Kashmir.