India tries to curb violence in Kashmir
Indian authorities have imposed a curfew in parts of Kashmir to stop fresh anti-India demonstrations following the killings of four people by Indian troops and a general strike called by separatists. The latest death occurred when a man was hit on his head by a tear gas shell fired by security forces and died in a hospital in the northern village of Drugmulla, police said. He was part of hundreds of rockthrowing protesters who clashed with government forces for a second straight day yesterday as authorities enforced a curfew in Srinagar, Handwara and neighbouring villages. The clashes occurred even as shops and schools were closed and streets deserted due to a security lockdown and a daylong strike call by separatist groups.
Mehbooba Mufti, who recently took over as the top elected official in the Indian portion of Kashmir, said the killings would have a “negative impact” on peace efforts.
Police said a 70-year-old woman, who was hit by gunfire during massive clashes between residents and government forces on Tuesday, died in a hospital yesterday. Two others also died from gunfire.
The protest and clashes in the northern town of Handwara erupted on Tuesday following an allegation by residents that an Indian army soldier tried to sexually assault a teenage schoolgirl.
Indian military, police and government officials, wary of the killings escalating the conflict in the volatile region, ordered investigations. Rights groups, however, say such probes rarely yield any concrete results and are often aimed at calming public anger.
Anti-India sentiment runs deep among the mostly Muslim population of Kashmir, and human rights groups have long accused the Indian military of using rape and sexual molestation to oppress the local population. Kashmir has been split between Indian and Pakistani control since the British colonialists left in 1947, but is claimed in full by both nations.