Army kills Kash­mir man dur­ing anti-In­dia strike

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

In­dian sol­diers fired at wor­ship­pers out­side a mosque in dis­puted Kash­mir on Fri­day, killing one man and wound­ing an­other af­ter some threw rocks, po­lice and res­i­dents said. Po­lice said sol­diers on patrol were pelted with rocks near the main mosque in Beer­wah town, where wor­ship­pers had gath­ered to of­fer Fri­day prayers. A fire­cracker was hurled to­ward the sol­diers, who mis­took the loud noise for a grenade and re­tal­i­ated, po­lice said in a state­ment.

Res­i­dents, how­ever, said only a few rocks were thrown and none hit any soldier. Wit­nesses said the sol­diers fired in­dis­crim­i­nately af­ter some rocks hit the iron shut­ters of shops that were closed be­cause of a gen­eral strike against In­dian rule in Kash­mir. The slain man, a tailor in his mid-20s, was hit by mul­ti­ple bul­lets and died on the way to a hos­pi­tal. The wounded man was re­ported to be in sta­ble con­di­tion.

The killing trig­gered anger and wide­spread protests in the town. Po­lice fired tear gas, fear­ing the fu­neral pro­ces­sion would turn into larger protests in the area as thou­sands car­ried the man’s body to a grave­yard for burial while chant­ing slo­gans against In­dian rule. Some threw rocks at po­lice, who fired shot­gun pel­lets to quell the protest. No one was re­ported in­jured.

Shops, busi­nesses and schools were closed in most parts of the re­gion be­cause of the gen­eral strike, called by sep­a­ratists who chal­lenge In­dia’s sovereignty over Kash­mir. The sep­a­ratists also called for a march to the United Na­tions of­fice in Srinagar, the re­gion’s main city. Au­thor­i­ties im­posed a tight cur­few in down­town Srinagar and ar­eas near the UN of­fice in an­tic­i­pa­tion of the march and an­tiIn­dia protests. Armed po­lice and para­mil­i­tary sol­diers in riot gear pa­trolled streets and blocked roads with ra­zor wire and steel bar­ri­cades.

Later Fri­day, scores of peo­ple led by a top sep­a­ratist leader, Mohammed Yasin Ma­lik, de­fied the se­cu­rity lock­down and tried to hold a protest march in Srinagar. How­ever, po­lice de­tained Ma­lik and sev­eral other ac­tivists. Nu­clear-armed ri­vals In­dia and Pak­istan each ad­min­is­ter part of Kash­mir, but both claim the Hi­malayan ter­ri­tory in its en­tirety. — AP

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