Death toll in recent wave of violence in Kashmir reaches 30 while more than 300 are injured.
Violence has again engulfed Kashmir, which has been a flashpoint for more than 60 years and center of an independence movement that has never completely disappeared in last 6 decades.
At least 30 people have been killed and more than 300 injured in clashes between protestors and police after Indian troops killed a popular separatist rebel, 22-year-old Burhan Wani on Friday. The violence that has erupted after his death is the worst seen for years in the restive region, claimed in its entirety by both India and Pakistan.
Life in the valley was paralysed for a third day Monday with shops and businesses closed, across the Valley while the mobile internet service and train services remained suspended. The death toll from three days of violence rose to at least 30on Sunday.
Most of the separatist leaders, including Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik, are either in custody or under house arrest.
Reports said a girl identified as Yasmeen, who sustained bullet injuries, succumbed at SMHS Hospital late on Sunday night. She belonged to Damhal Hanjipora in Kulgam district in south Kashmir. While, a 24-year-old man Shabir Ahmad from Srinagar was also killed late on Sunday evening.
“It is shocking and painful that Indian armed forces have yet again unleashed terror on the mourners and protesters, resulting in massive civilian casualties,” Khurram Parvez, an activist with rights group the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition for Civil Society, said in a statement.
Curfew continues in Kashmir
Curfew-like restrictions continued to be in place in many parts of the valley including parts of Srinagar city, where the first death in the clashes occurred on Sunday evening.
Authorities have strengthened the presence of security forces in vulnerable areas of the city and elsewhere in the valley to contain the protests, a police official said.
Shops, private offices, educational institutions, business establishments and petrol pumps were shut, while government offices and banks witnessed thin attendance, officials said. Public transport was completely off the roads but private cars and auto-rickshaws were seen plying at few places in the areas where there were no restrictions, they said.
The last time serious violence engulfed the region was in the summer of 2010, when over 100 people died in anti-India protests, which broke out after police shot dead a teenager.
Pakistan condemns extrajudicial killing and unrest in Indian Occupied Kashmir
Pakistan has strongly condemned continued killing of innocent Kashmiris in Indian Occupied Kashmir and calls upon the Indian government to fulfill its human rights obligations as well as its commitments under the United Nations Security Council Resolutions.
Pakistan says that the extrajudicial killing of the young Kashmiri leader Burhan Wani was not only ‘deplorable’ but also ‘condemnable’.
“The extrajudicial killing of Kashmiri leader Burhan Wani and scores of other innocent Kashmiris is deplorable and condemnable. Such acts are a violation of fundamental human rights of Kashmiris and can not deter the people of Jammu and Kashmir from their demand for the realization of the right to self determination” Pakistan Foreign Office Statement read.
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has alleged that “Sharif-Modi friendship” is causing irreparable damage to the Kashmir cause.
Condemning the killing of innocent Kashmiris in India-held Kashmir over the past few days, Bilawal Bhutto said that Indian authorities were violating rights of Kashmiri Muslims.
“While Muslims celebrated Eidul Fitr across the world, our Kashmiri brethren marked the day of festivities amid violence carried out by the Indian army,” Bilawal said in a statement on Sunday.
Who was Burhan Wani?
Protests in Kashmir erupted after security services on Friday evening shot dead 22-year-old Burhan Wani. His death came amid a rise in violence and separatist sentiment across the state.
Born to a highly educated upper-class Kashmiri family, Burhan Wani is believed to have been driven to militancy at the age of 15, when – alongside his brother – he was beaten up by police “for no reason”.
Wani was extremely active on social media and, unlike militants in the past, did not hide his identity. His video messages, which would often go viral in Kashmir, were on the topics of Indian injustice, and the need for youth to stand up to oppression.
Mr. Wani had become a prominent face of separatist sentiment in the Kashmir valley. Wani was the leader of Hizb-ul Mujahideen, a group fighting Indian control of the Muslim-majority region. Activists and separatist leaders have criticised the security forces’ response to the protests, accusing them of using excessive force.
Wani was shot dead along with two other fighters by security forces and police in Bundoora village on Friday, 85km south of Srinagar, prompting mass mourning across the valley.
Tens of thousands of people defied a curfew in parts of Kashmir on Saturday to pay homage to Burhan Wani, the rebel fighter and so-called poster boy of the new Kashmiri resistance, resulting in clashes with police and paramilitary.
Khurram Parvez, programme director of Jammu Kashmir Coalition for Civil Society in Srinagar, described Wani’s death as an extra-judicial killing, saying that the Indian government had made no attempt to arrest him. He said that Wani was an example of a rebel who had not joined out of ideological reasons.
“He joined because he was humiliated on the streets, his brother was tortured, this is where his resentment for the Indian government came from, and this is why Kashmiri’s identified with him.”
“He is being painted as a dreaded militant, but he was often very politically correct, [for instance] he spoke about Pandits returning in peace and assured Hindus that their pilgrimage would not be a target by militants,” Parvez said.