India Lifts Curfew In Most Of Kashmir; Violence Continues
August 30, 2016
Indian authorities lifted a 52-day-long curfew in Kashmir on August 29, but reimposed it hours later in most of Srinagar, the region's main city, after anti-India protests and clashes erupted in several neighborhoods.
Residents threw stones at government forces and chanted slogans like "We want freedom" and "Go India, go back," and the police fired back with tear gas to stop them from marching in the streets, witnesses and police officers said.
Clashes between pro-Pakistan protesters and police were also reported in other areas, with at least eight civilians reported injured.
Authorities said they had decided to lift the curfew over much of the region in an attempt to de-escalate what has become the worst violence in the region since 2010.
At least 68 civilians have been killed and thousands injured since protests broke out in July, mostly by government forces firing bullets and shotguns at rock-throwing protesters. Two policemen have been killed while hundreds of government forces have been injured in the clashes.
The curfew and other crackdown measures had failed to halt the protests, triggered by the killing of a popular rebel commander on July 8.
Tens of thousands of people have defied security restrictions and clashed with government forces on a daily basis seeking an end of Indian rule.
Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan and claimed by both. Most Kashmiris want an end to Indian rule and favor independence or a merger with Pakistan.
Several armed separatist groups have for decades fought the 500,000 Indian soldiers deployed in the territory.
The latest protests began after the killing of one rebel group's leader, Burhan Wani of the Hizbul Mujahideen, in a gunbattle with soldiers.
Since the armed rebellion against Indian rule began in 1989, tens of thousands of civilians have died in the fighting.
With reporting by AP, AFP, and dpa
Copyright (c) 2016. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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