Wednesday 21 August 2019

Security forces keep lid on Kashmir protests

Indian Paramilitary soldiers stand guard during curfew in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir. Photo: Dar Yasin/AP Photo
Indian Paramilitary soldiers stand guard during curfew in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir. Photo: Dar Yasin/AP Photo

Devjyot Ghoshal

Thousands of Indian security forces kept a lid on protests in disputed Kashmir yesterday, helped by the continued suspension of telephone and internet services after the Himalayan region's special status was scrapped this week.

Neighbours China and Pakistan, which both claim parts of the region, have voiced fierce opposition to India's move dropping a constitutional provision that had allowed the country's only Muslim-majority state to make its own laws.

Streets in the region's main city of Srinagar were deserted for a third day, with almost all shops shut, barring some chemists. Armed federal police manned mobile checkpoints across the city, limiting people's movement.

Knots of protesters threw stones at soldiers amid anger over the telecoms clampdown that began on Sunday.

"These (protests) are mostly localised because of the heavy troop deployment," said a police officer, adding police used tear gas and pepper spray to scatter the protesters.

A witness described an episode of hours of stone-throwing on Tuesday in the Old Barzullah area near the city centre, saying: "I saw around 100 boys, in small groups, pelting stones. The police fired tear gas to beat them back."

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government detained regional leaders and heads of separatist groups before Monday's announcement, which also split the state into two federal territories to ensure greater control. India has been fighting an armed revolt in Kashmir since 1989, which it blames Pakistan for stoking.

Islamabad says it only gives moral and diplomatic support to the Kashmiri people.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News