Five more dead and 20 injured as Kashmir riots continue

Sixty-four people have now been killed by security forces during 39 days of protest

Kashmiri Muslims shout pro-freedom slogans during the funeral of four civilians at Aaripanthan village on Tuesday. The four were killed after Indian police and paramilitary forces opened fire on protesters early in the morning, locals said. Photograph: Farooq Khan/EPA

Kashmiri Muslims shout pro-freedom slogans during the funeral of four civilians at Aaripanthan village on Tuesday. The four were killed after Indian police and paramilitary forces opened fire on protesters early in the morning, locals said. Photograph: Farooq Khan/EPA

 

in New Delhi Indian security forces shot dead five people and injured 20 Tuesday in the disputed Jammu and Kashmir state, during continuing protests over the recent killing of a popular local separatist leader.

Four people were killed in Aripanthan village in the Kashmir Valley, after locals demonstrated against what they claimed was “high handedness” by the security forces in enforcing a near incessant curfew since July 9th.

Another protester was shot dead in nearby Larkipora village after security forces opened fire with automatic rifles.

They had earlier used shotguns that they claimed incapacitated rioters, but did not kill.

Locals and human rights activists, however, said the shotgun pellets had blinded hundreds of protesters and innocent bystanders.

At least 64 people have been killed by the security forces and thousands injured during 39 days of protests after the killing of Burhan Wani, one of Kashmir’s top militant commanders fighting the Indian state for an independent Muslim homeland.

Diplomatic support

The entire Kashmir Valley has been shut down in the enduring violence as paramilitary troops patrol roads, residential areas and mosques.

Tuesday’s shootings came after security forces killed nine people on India’s independence day, which included seven militants in extended firefights across the state.

India blames Pakistan, which controls a third of Kashmir and lays claim to the rest, for fuelling Kashmir’s 27-year-old insurgency, a claim that Islamabad denies.

Pakistan claims it offers Kashmiri insurgents only moral and diplomatic support, and raised already high tension levels further on Monday by offering to send aid to victims of violence in the troubled province.

It also offered to hold talks with India – suspended for nearly eight years – focused exclusively on Kashmir, a suggestion New Delhi summarily rejected.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International has denied its staff had made any “anti-national” or seditious statements at an event it had organised in Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore) last week to discuss the Kashmir situation.

Police in Bengaluru filed sedition charges against Amnesty after complaints by a Hindu nationalist student organisation that event participants had demanded independence for Kashmir.

“The filing of a complaint against Amnesty indicates how intolerant and restrictive Modi’s government is towards anyone even mildly critical of it or its Kashmir policy,” said human rights activist Seema Mustafa, who was in Bengaluru for the event.