Teenager’s death sparks fresh anti-In­dia protests

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

At least 30 peo­ple were in­jured in In­dian-con­trolled Kash­mir yes­ter­day af­ter gov­ern­ment forces fired shot­gun pel­lets and tear gas as a funeral pro­ces­sion for a teenager turned into a protest against In­dian rule. Po­lice and para­mil­i­tary sol­diers in­ter­cepted the mourn­ers car­ry­ing the body of the teenage boy who his fam­ily al­leges died of po­lice tor­ture in Sri­na­gar, the main city of the dis­puted re­gion.

Wit­nesses said hun­dreds of young men par­tic­i­pat­ing in the funeral hurled rocks at the troops as tear gas shells ex­ploded near the boy’s cof­fin, while an­other group of mourn­ers changed route to bury him. Gov­ern­ment forces fired pel­lets, warn­ing shots and tear gas, fear­ing the pro­ces­sion could be­come a larger rally seek­ing an end of In­dian rule in the Hi­malayan re­gion, said a po­lice of­fi­cer, speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymity in keep­ing with depart­ment pol­icy.

The in­jured, in­clud­ing two women, were hos­pi­tal­ized as clashes erupted at sev­eral en­try points at Sri­na­gar’s main Mar­tyr’s Grave­yard. The boy died in a hos­pi­tal overnight af­ter he was found un­con­scious a day af­ter he went miss­ing on Oct 27.His fam­ily said he was tor­tured and poi­soned by the po­lice.

Po­lice de­nied it, say­ing the boy had con­sumed poi­son on his own. Kash­mir is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing its largest protests against In­dian rule in re­cent years, sparked by the killing in July of a pop­u­lar rebel com­man­der. The protests, sep­a­ratist-spon­sored strikes and a sweep­ing mil­i­tary crack­down have all but par­a­lyzed life in the re­gion.

At least 90 civil­ians have been killed and thou­sands in­jured, with hun­dreds among them blinded and maimed, mostly by gov­ern­ment forces fir­ing bul­lets and pel­lets at rock-throw­ing protesters.

Two po­lice­men have also been killed and hun­dreds of gov­ern­ment forces in­jured in the clashes. Kash­mir is di­vided be­tween In­dia and Pak­istan, but claimed by both in its en­tirety. Most peo­ple in the In­dian-con­trolled por­tion fa­vor in­de­pen­dence or a merger with Pak­istan. A mil­i­tant up­ris­ing and sub­se­quent In­dian mil­i­tary crack­down since 1989 have killed more than 68,000 peo­ple. — AP

SRI­NA­GAR: Kash­miri Mus­lims car­ry­ing the body of Qaiser Sofi take cover from tear gas shells fired at them by In­dian forces dur­ing his funeral pro­ces­sion. — AP

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