A youth was killed and more than 70 were injured after government forces fired upon protesters in restive Indian-controlled Kashmir, officials have said.
The youth was killed at Fateh Kadal locality near Nowhatta area in old part of Srinagar city on Sunday, the summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir.
“A youth succumbed here this evening,” a health official at SMHS hospital said. “He was hit in chest with a teargas shell.”
The fresh killing triggered further protests in the city and is likely to fuel more one’s across the region.
Police officials said the youth was part of a group that tried to defy curfew restrictions in the city.
Elsewhere, in Sopore, Baramulla, Ganderbal, Anantnag and Kulgam, at least 70 people including women were injured in similar clashes.
“The massive protests broke out in Baramulla district,” a police officer said.
Large-scale protests against New Delhi’s rule are going on in the Muslim majority areas of the restive region since July 8. The protests broke out following the killing of a top militant commander of Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) Burhan Muzaffar Wani.
Despite prolonged curfew and restrictions to clampdown on protesters, clashes and protests seem to be intensifying on 44 straight day on Sunday. The death toll of civilians in the standoff has gone up to 63, besides injuries to thousands of civilians and hundreds of government forces personnel.
Anti-India sentiment runs deep in the psyche of majority of Kashmiris. Irate residents defying curfew and restrictions took to roads at several places and clashed with police. The youth threw stones and brickbats on contingents of police and paramilitary, who responded by firing tear smoke shells, pellets and bullets, which often proved fatal.
Sunday’s killing has come at a time when India’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was on a visit to region’s winter capital of Jammu to address a public rally at Samba district. Jaitley said stone-throwing youth in Kashmir were not satyagrahis (followers of truth) but hamlavaars (aggressors).
The shutdown and restrictions has affected normal life in the region, with people complaining dearth of essentials and eatables. A shortage of medicines has been reported in the region.
A separatist movement and guerrilla war challenging New Delhi’s rule is going on in Indian-controlled Kashmir since 1989.
Prior to this, in 2010, a similar wave of violence hit the region and claimed over 100 lives during clashes that continued for months together.
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.
The weeks of turbulence in Indian-controlled Kashmir has added a new confrontation in the already strained relations between the two countries.