Death Toll Rises in Indian Kashmir Clashes

Death Toll Rises in Indian Kashmir ClashesDeath Toll Rises in Indian Kashmir Clashes

Protesters and police have clashed in Indian-administered Kashmir, leaving many dead and injured. Unrest and fighting started on Saturday after the killing on Friday of a popular rebel commander by government forces.

The large-scale anti-India protests erupted after Burhan Wani, chief of operations of Hizbul Mujahideen, Kashmir’s largest rebel group, was killed fighting with Indian troops on Friday. At least three police stations were set on fire by protesters and three officers were missing.

Indian troops have used live ammunition, pellet guns and tear gas to try and control the angry crowds, police said. About 200 people were reportedly wounded, most from firearms, including 96 police, a police statement said on Saturday, DPA reported.

Authorities imposed a curfew for a second day on Sunday, extending it to the entire Kashmir valley, including the capital, Srinagar, and covering all 10 districts. Troops erected barricades and placed barbed wire to prevent further protests and mobile Internet services were blocked.

Six died in hospitals overnight after suffering gunshot wounds on Saturday, a police officer said.

Eight people were killed on Saturday. One protester was killed on Sunday when government forces fired on residents who defied the restrictions in the southern Pulwama area.

A policeman was also reportedly killed on Sunday when protesters pushed the vehicle he was traveling in into a river in the southern Anantnag area.

Burhan Wani—a 22-year-old commander of HM, the region’s largest rebel group—was killed in gunfight with government forces on Friday evening, sparking the protests and clashes between government forces and locals.

Two rebel comrades of Wani were also killed. HM is one of several groups that has been fighting the half a million Indian troops deployed in the region, calling for independence for Kashmir or a merger with Pakistan.

Strong anti-India sentiment is strong in Muslim-majority Kashmir, which has been divided between rivals India and Pakistan since 1947, although both claim the territory in its entirety. More than 68,000 people have been killed in the uprising and the subsequent Indian military crackdown.