A young man was killed and many others injured Wednesday after Indian forces fired on protesters in restive Indian-controlled Kashmir, officials said.
The youth was killed at Nadihal village in Baramulla district, about 60 km northwest of Srinagar city, the summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir.
“A youth by the name of Danish Manzoor succumbed to firearm injuries at the hospital here,” a health official at Baramulla hospital said. “He was among the six injured brought to the hospital. Out of them three have been referred to Srinagar for specialized treatment.”
Local media reports quoting residents said the stone-throwing clashes erupted in the area after government forces ransacked houses and thrashed people, besides denying passage to the fruit-laden trucks in the area.
“The police and paramilitary troopers responded by firing tear smoke shells, pellets and bullets,” locals told media. “The police firing has led to killing of the youth.”
There seems to be no let up in street protests challenging New Delhi’s rule in the region on the fifty-fourth straight day Wednesday, despite authorities withdrawing curfew throughout the Indian-controlled Kashmir. Shops, schools and offices remained closed, besides movement of traffic hampered due to a protest strike called by region’s separatist groups.
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.
Reports of fresh clashes between youth and government forces poured in from Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama, Shopian and Bandipora. So far, over two dozen people are reported injured in the clashes in these areas.
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 throw stones and brickbats on contingents of police and paramilitary, who respond by firing tear smoke shells, pellets and bullets, which often proves fatal.
Local newspaper reports said on Tuesday over 100 protesters including two minors and a few women were injured in day-long clashes across the region. Reports said government forces use force to disperse people from assembling at pro-freedom rallies.
Wednesday’s killing has pushed the toll of civilians in the ongoing unrest to 69, besides injuries to thousands of others including government forces personnel.
Every killing pushes the cycle of violence further and fuels more protests.
Indian-controlled Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti strongly defends the government forces and claims only five per cent people in restive region were resorting to agitation and remaining 95 per cent people want to resolve the Kashmir issue through peaceful means.
An all-party delegation headed by Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh from New Delhi is scheduled to visit Srinagar on Saturday for talks aimed at cooling tempers in the region. Officials in New Delhi said the lawmakers (delegates) would be briefed about the contours of the visit by top officials of the Indian home ministry before their departure.
Authorities have placed separatist leaders under detention fearing their participation in rallies and demonstrations would intensify anti-India protests across the region.
A separatist movement and guerrilla war challenging New Delhi’s rule is 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.
The weeks of turbulence in Indian-controlled Kashmir has added a new confrontation in the already strained relations between the two countries. Endit