Tuesday 16 January 2018

Three dead in Kashmir protests

Kashmiri Muslim protesters shout slogans, defying a curfew as India security forces stand in Srinagar, India (AP)
Kashmiri Muslim protesters shout slogans, defying a curfew as India security forces stand in Srinagar, India (AP)
Indian policemen chase Kashmiri Muslim protesters as they try to defy a curfew in Srinagar, India (AP)

Three young people have died in violence in Indian-controlled Kashmir despite a curfew that continued for a third day on Monday following the execution of a Kashmiri man convicted in a deadly 2001 attack on India's parliament.

Mohammed Afzal Guru was hanged in New Delhi early on Saturday. Ahead of the execution, authorities had anticipated anti-India protests and ordered people in most of the Indian-held part of the disputed Kashmir region to remain indoors indefinitely.

Despite the curfew, protests and clashes between troops and demonstrators broke out at a dozen places in the region. Police and paramilitary soldiers fired tear gas and used batons to chase away rock-throwing protesters, police said.

Guru's execution is an extremely sensitive matter in the Himalayan region, where most people believe his trial was not fair. Several rights groups in India, and political groups in Indian Kashmir, also questioned the fairness of his trial.

Monday's protests coincided with the 29th anniversary of the execution of Mohammed Maqbool Butt, the founder of the pro-independence Jammu-Kashmir Liberation Front. Several activists tried to hold a procession in Butt's honor in Srinagar, the main city in the region, but police chased them away.

An Indian court convicted Butt of killing an intelligence officer and he was hanged in 1984 in the same New Delhi jail where Guru was executed.

In Watergam village near the town of Sopore, which was Guru's home, a 12-year-old boy, Obaid Mushtaq, died early on Monday of injuries after police and paramilitary troops fired tear gas shells and bullets a day earlier to disperse an angry crowd, hospital official Aijaz Mustafa said. He said an 18-year-old boy injured in the clashes was on life support. At least two other people were also injured, police said.

Another young man died in Sumbal village in northern Kashmir on Sunday after he jumped into a frigid river while trying to run away from troops who were firing tear gas and swinging batons. The body of a high school student who had been missing since Sunday's protest was also recovered from the river on Monday, police said.

Thousands attended the funeral processions of the two young men on Monday, shouting slogans such as: "We want freedom."

Tens of thousands of security troops were fanned out across the Himalayan region, and metal barricades and razor wire blocked all major roads. Cable television and mobile Internet services were shut down in most parts of the region and Kashmir's nearly 60 newspapers were unable to publish.

Press Association

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