OCCUPIED SRINAGAR: Eight protesters were killed and more than 200 others injured in Indian occupied Kashmir Saturday after thousands defied a curfew following the death of a senior Kashmiri leader, officials said.
Clashes spread across the disputed territory as protesters angry at the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) leader Burhan Wani on Friday torched police stations and threw rocks at army camps in the south of the restive region.
Wani, a 22-year-old Kashmiri leader, was martyred along with two others during a brief gunbattle with Indian forces.
Authorities handed the body of Wani, viewed by locals as a hero since he joined HM at the age of 15, over to his family early Saturday morning.
He was buried as tens of thousands attending the funeral chanted independence slogans and protestors fired pistol shots in his honour, witnesses said.
“It was a sea of people shouting slogans in favour of freedom from India,” one said.
Authorities imposed a curfew in large parts of the territory and suspended mobile networks and the internet to prevent wide-scale demonstrations.
But thousands defied the restrictions as tensions intensified and clashes spread.
Government forces fired tear gas canisters and live ammunition at protesters in several places.
Streets in the main city of Srinagar were deserted except for hundreds of soldiers and police ordering people to stay indoors.
“Yes we have imposed a curfew, but of course, his (Wani’s) funeral was allowed,” director general of police K. Rajendra told AFP.
Wani’s death had sparked protests and clashes throughout the night Friday, with mosque loudspeakers blaring “Azadi” (freedom from Indian rule) in most areas, including the capital Srinagar.
“Aftr many yrs I hear slogans for ´Azadi´ resonate from the mosque in my uptown Srinagar locality,” former chief minister of the disputed state, Omar Abdullah, said on Twitter.
“Kashmir´s disaffected got a new icon y´day.”
Resistance groups opposed to Indian rule of Kashmir have called for three days of mourning and a shutdown in the territory after the leader’s killing.
Tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, have died in the fighting since 1989.
Courtesy : TheNews