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Jammu and Kashmir: Shutdown, restrictions in Kashmir after civilian killed by Indian soldiers

3rd Jun 2018
Jammu and Kashmir: Shutdown, restrictions in Kashmir after civilian killed by Indian soldiers

By Zahid Rafiq

 

SRINAGAR, Jammu and Kashmir, India (AA): Following the death of a civilian protestor after being run over by an Indian armed forces vehicle, the Kashmir region on Saturday observed a complete shutdown, with Indian authorities responding with curfew-like restrictions in the capital Srinagar and other urban areas.

Pictures of two protestors being run over by Indian forces vehicles went viral on Friday and one, 21-year-old Kaiser Bhat, was later declared dead at the hospital.

Bhat is the second civilian protestor in a month to die after being hit by an Indian forces’ vehicle during protests.

Official sources said that a group of youth resorted to stone-pelting on forces after Friday prayers. They said police used teargas and pellets against stone-throwers during which some youth suffered minor injuries.

Later, as the stone pelting clashes turned violent, a CRPF BP (Bullet Proof) vehicle of 128 battalion ran over the two youths identified as Mohammad Younis of Dalgate and Kaiser Ahmad of Fatehkadal.

A spokesman for Indian forces blamed the protestors, saying some had climbed on the vehicle.

“The protesters were trying to lynch people inside the vehicle and the driver was trying to get out of the situation,” said Sanjay Sharma, adding that in the midst of this someone may have gotten underneath the vehicle.

Bhat was buried Saturday in the Martyrs’ Graveyard in the old city. Several thousand people attended his funeral prayers amid pro-independence slogans. According to eyewitnesses, teargas was fired on the mourners.

Following his death, the resistance leadership was put under house arrest.

“The old city has been put under curfew and I have been barred from addressing a rally to commemorate Jung e Badr [the Battle of Badr in 624],” said resistance leader Mirwaiz Umar.

Saturday’s shutdown was called earlier this week by the pro-independence Joint Resistance Leadership to protest a number of issues, including the killing of civilians by Indian forces.

On Saturday, shops, businesses, and educational institutions remained closed. The Internet was suspended in Srinagar and so were train services across Kashmir.

Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.

Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars — in 1948, 1965 and 1971 — two of them over Kashmir.

Also, in Siachen glacier in northern Kashmir, Indian and Pakistani troops have fought intermittently since 1984. A cease-fire came into effect in 2003.

Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.

According to several human rights groups, thousands of people have reportedly been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.

Additional report by The Muslim News

[Archive Photo: Protesters attack the police vehicle with stones on the ninth day of Ramadan in old Srinagar the summer capital of Indian controlled Kashmir on May 25, 2018 .Photographer: Faisal Khan/AA]

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