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Iran Press TV

500 incidents of protests, hundreds injured in Kashmir lockdown: Sources

Iran Press TV

Wed Aug 28, 2019 03:18PM

Hundreds of incidents of protest have erupted in Indian-administered Kashmir since the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi stripped the Muslim-majority Himalayan region of its autonomy and imposed a security clampdown more than three weeks ago.

A senior government source told media outlets on Wednesday that at least 500 protests and incidents of stone throwing had occurred across the valley since August 5, with more than half taking place in Srinagar.

"The number of protests could be much higher and bigger without the blockade in force," the official said, adding that "anger and public defiance is constantly rising".

About 100 civilians have been injured so far, with a further 300 police and over 100 paramilitary troopers hurt in a series of violent clashes, the official noted

"Efforts for easing the conditions are made all the time but nothing seems to be working for now. There is nervousness spreading in the security establishment."

The official further said that the communications blackout meant even security forces were struggling to obtain information about rural areas.

The administration of Premier Modi scrapped the special status of its portion of Kashmir earlier this month. New Delhi claimed that the decision was necessary for the economic development of Kashmir and it would help fight "terrorism."

After the decision on the special status, New Delhi dispatched thousands of additional troops to the Himalayan region, declared a strict curfew, shut down telecommunications and internet services, and arrested political leaders and pro-independence campaigners.

The Himalayan valley is under a strict lockdown, imposed hours before India's decision to bring Kashmir under its direct rule.

Movement is restricted and phone and internet services have been cut. The lockdown was ordered amid fears of unrest in a region, where an armed rebellion against Indian rule has been waged since 1989.

Meanwhile, latest media reports indicate that residents are refusing to resume their normal lives in an act of defiance. While authorities have re-opened schools, students have stayed away.

Security and government sources said last week that at least 4,000 people had been detained across the valley. Separately, at least 1,350 protesters have been arrested since August 5.

The detentions came as the Supreme Court on Wednesday gave the government one week to respond to a legal challenge calling for the communications blackout end to allow for media reporting.

The court also said several petitions challenging the removal of the constitutional clause on Kashmir's autonomy would be heard in October.

India's behavior has drawn criticism from the people of Kashmir, Pakistan as well as human rights groups and the UN.

In recent days, India and Pakistan have exchanged heavy fire across the militarized de facto border in the disputed Kashmir valley.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan warned in a speech on Monday that the issue of Kashmir could lead to a nuclear war between Islamabad and New Delhi if the international community failed to intervene.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has already urged all parties to exercise restraint in Kashmir.

Kashmir is divided between India, which rules the populous Kashmir Valley and the Hindu-dominated region around Jammu city, and Pakistan, which controls a piece of territory in the west.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars over the territory.

India regularly accuses Pakistan of arming and training militants and allowing them to cross the restive frontier. Pakistan strongly denies the allegations.

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