SRINAGAR: Protesters and government forces in Indian Kashmir clashed for a second day Sunday as anger over the death of an influential rebel leader boiled over, with 18 people killed in some of the worst civilian unrest to hit the region since 2010.
Another 200 people have been wounded in the violence, many of them protesters who were hit when government forces fired tear gas canisters and live ammunition on Saturday.
Among the 18 dead was a police man who drowned when angry protesters pushed an armoured vehicle into a river in the southern district of Sangam on Sunday, a police officer told AFP on condition of anonymity.
Thousands of residents of the disputed region are defying a government-imposed curfew to take to the streets in protest at the killing on Friday of rebel leader Burhan Wani.
The state government, which has also cut off internet and mobile phone networks to try to stop the protests spreading, called for calm on Sunday.
“They (protesters) should not take their protests to a level where a man holding a gun is forced to open fire,” said spokesman Nayeem Akhtar.
There were also reports of security forces attacking hospitals and ambulances treating the wounded.
“Attacking hospitals and ambulances is a crime under the international humanitarian law and Indian armed forces have been repeatedly accused of this crime in Kashmir,” said the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, a rights group, in a statement.
Wani, a 22-year-old commander of Kashmir’s largest rebel group Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), was killed along with two other rebels during a brief gun battle with government forces.
Police say protesters have set police stations on fire and thrown rocks at army camps in the south of the restive region. -AFP