Indian forces kill 3 Kashmiri civilians amid protests

55 Kashmiris killed in almost a month of tension in disputed Himalayan region.


Zahid Rafiq - SRINAGAR, Indian-held Kashmir (AA) -  Three more Kashmiri civilians were shot dead by Indian forces Friday, bringing the total civilian death toll in the past month up to 55.

A senior police officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that three youth were killed on Friday as Indian forces fired on the scores of pro-independence protesters that took to the streets after Friday prayers across the Indian-held Kashmir.

Over 250 others were wounded and hospitalized across the region, according to Health Department sources.

More than 50 had pellet injuries, while several were hit by live bullets, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity due to restrictions over speaking to the media. 

Thousands of people broke the strict curfew imposed by Indian government across Kashmir Friday, which was meant to stop people from demonstrating against Indian rule, leading to widespread clashes between the protesters and Indian forces. 

Shops, schools and businesses continue to remain shut in the region and vehicles were off the roads for the 28th consecutive day as part of the people's strike against the unpopular Indian rule in the region. 

Friday's deaths raised tensions that have not subsided since July 8, when the killing of a popular young Kashmiri militant commander, 22-year-old Burhan Wani, prompted widespread protests against Indian rule.

At least 55 Kashmiri civilians have been killed and over 2,600 wounded since in firing by Indian forces, while two police officers have been killed in the same period.

Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full.

The two countries have fought three wars – in 1948, 1965 and 1971 – since they were partitioned in 1947, two of which were fought over Kashmir.

Since 1989, Kashmiri resistance groups in IHK have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.

More than 70,000 people have reportedly been killed in the conflict so far, most of them by the Indian Armed forces. India maintains more than half a million troops in the disputed regions.




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