Indian forces open fire on Kashmiri protesters, kill 3
At least three people have been killed as Indian forces opened fire on the protesters who were out on the streets in defiance of a curfew in the Indian-controlled Kashmir region.
Late on Monday, the protesters blocked a main road and started throwing stones at an army convoy that was deployed to the region, police said on Tuesday.
“Some miscreants then tried to snatch weapons from the army and tried to set vehicles on fire,” said a police spokesman.
The army then opened fire, leaving two women, dead instantly, while a third person died in hospital.
At least 42 people have so far been killed and some 3,500 others injured since protests erupted over the killing of pro-independence activist Burhan Wani.
Wani, a top figure in the pro-independence Hizb-ul-Mujahideen group, was killed along with two others in a shootout with Indian troops acting on a tip in the Kokernag area on July 9.
His death sparked protests in the city of Anantnag, with hundreds of demonstrators shouting pro-independence slogans.
Anti-riot troops have been using live ammunition, pellet guns and tear gas to disperse the crowds and calm down the outrage over the past few weeks.
Activists protest against the violence in Indian-controlled Kashmir region, in Muzaffarabad, on July 17, 2016. ©AFP
Police chief K. Rajendra Kumar, however, described his killing as “a major success against militants in Kashmir,” adding, “This year, we killed 83 militants in Kashmir, which is highest in recent years.”
Javaid Gillani, the inspector general of police for the region, also said that Wani was gunned down in “a specific operation based on intelligence” about the militant figure.
Kashmir lies at the heart of a bitter territorial dispute since India and Pakistan became independent in 1947.
New Delhi and Islamabad both claim the Himalayan region in full, but rule parts of it. The two countries have fought two wars over the disputed territory.
India and Pakistan agreed to a ceasefire in Kashmir on November 26, 2003, and launched a peace process the following year.
Since then, there have been sporadic clashes, with the two sides trading accusations of violating the ceasefire along their de facto border dividing the disputed region.
Overall violence in Kashmir has declined during the last decade, but clashes between government forces and militants erupt regularly.