Monday, June 28, 2010

2 Killed in Street Protests in Indian-controlled Kashmir

In Indian-controlled Kashmir, two people have been killed and several injured when police opened fire to quell violent street protests. Police say one protester died Monday when a huge crowd defied a curfew to take part in the funeral procession of a man who was killed during street protests the previous day in Sopore town. In Baramulla town, a nine-year-old boy was also killed as demonstrators also poured into the streets.Residents say the latest deaths occurred in firing by security forces, who have been trying to put down the protests. Police, however, say they did not fire any live ammunition, and only used rubber bullets. Vikram Srivastav, director general of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), denies paramilitary forces have fired at civilians. "The security forces, particularly the CRPF, they are acting with great restraint, great control."In Srinagar, police erected barricades to prevent thousands of people from marching to Sopore, where most of the deaths have taken place. Authorities also shut down schools and colleges for two days throughout the valley.Tensions have been rising in Indian-controlled Kashmir, where at least eight civilians have died in the last two weeks in incidents involving security forces. The state government has expressed concern at the rising civilian death toll.At a news conference Sunday night, Jammu and Kashmir law minister Ali Mohammad Sagar, accused security forces of ignoring instructions to exercise restraint. Sagar said there appears to be lack of command and coordination among the paramilitary forces, which, he said, results in the killing of civilians.Tens of thousands of troops are based in Indian Kashmir, where a separatist insurgency erupted in 1989. Violence has ebbed in recent years, but slogans for freedom from Indian rule still resonate during the kind of protests and street demonstrations witnessed in recent days. There is also widespread resentment against the heavy presence of troops, whom Kashmiris accuse of rights violations.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Soldiers fire on Kashmiri protesters; 1 killed
SRINAGAR, India 20, June, 2010 — Indian troops fired on hundreds of demonstrators who tried to torch a paramilitary bunker in Kashmir on Sunday, killing one person and wounding at least five, police said. More were injured in subsequent clashes.
Hundreds of people took to the streets of Srinagar, the summer capital of India's Jammu and Kashmir state, in an angry protest against the death of a 25-year-old who died a day earlier after being beaten by soldiers in a demonstration last week.
The protesters threw rocks at security forces and surrounded an armored vehicle belonging to paramilitary soldiers, according to footage from AP Television News. They later tried to light a bunker on fire, said Farooq Ahmed, a top police officer. A spokesman for the paramilitary force said they fired in self-defense.
"We exercised maximum restraint. Our soldiers opened fire only in self-defense after the protesters tried to torch the bunker," said Prabhakar Tripathi, spokesman for the Central Reserve Police Force.
One person was killed and at least five wounded, said Ahmed.
The demonstration swelled after the shots were fired, when hundreds more people poured into the streets, chanting "We want freedom" and "Indian forces leave Kashmir."
Fresh clashes erupted as police and paramilitary soldiers fired warning shots and deployed tear gas to quell the spiraling protests.
At least six protesters and five soldiers were injured, Ahmed said.
"The situation has been brought under control and restrictions on assembly of more than five people have been imposed in some parts of Srinagar," he said.
Anti-India sentiment runs deep in Muslim-majority Kashmir, which is divided between India and Pakistan and is claimed by both. Rebel groups have been fighting since 1989 for the Himalayan region's independence from India or its merger with neighboring Pakistan.
More than 68,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in the conflict.