Cur­few, strikes in Kash­mir af­ter top mil­i­tant’s death

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Thou­sands of Indian po­lice and troops en­forced a lock­down yes­ter­day in parts of Kash­mir, fear­ing vi­o­lent reprisals a day af­ter a top mil­i­tant com­man­der and two civil­ians were killed in clashes in the dis­puted Hi­malayan ter­ri­tory. Res­i­dents in the old quar­ters of Sri­na­gar, the main city in Indian-ad­min­is­tered Kash­mir, were or­dered to stay in­doors and obey the cur­few as gov­ern­ment forces pa­trolled streets lined with steel bar­ri­ers and ra­zor wire.

“I was not al­lowed by sol­diers to leave home for work. They are right out­side my door,” Gulzar Ahmed, a me­chanic, said by phone from his house in down­town Sri­na­gar. Schools and col­leges were or­dered shut for a sec­ond day to try to avert stu­dent protests against Indian rule, which fre­quently erupt into stone-throw­ing and clashes with troops. Shops and banks also re­mained shut af­ter three top Kash­miri sep­a­ratist lead­ers called for a strike fol­low­ing the death of Abu Du­jana, a se­nior rebel fighter from the Pak­istan­based mil­i­tant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

His death, her­alded by Indian forces as “a ma­jor achieve­ment”, sparked protests and clashes with gov­ern­ment forces across the Kash­mir Val­ley dur­ing which a young man was killed and scores in­jured. A sec­ond pro­tester died in hos­pi­tal Wed­nes­day. His fu­neral was at­tended by hun­dreds of mourn­ers who pelted Indian sol­diers with stones and chanted slo­gans call­ing for in­de­pen­dence, wit­nesses said. Du­jana’s death has dealt one of the big­gest blows to Kash­miri sep­a­ratists since a charis­matic young com­man­der, Burhan Wani, was shot dead in July last year. Wani’s killing sparked months of wide­spread protests against Indian rule and left nearly 100 civil­ians dead and thou­sands in­jured. —AFP

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