SRINAGAR: Fresh protests flared in Indian-controlled Kashmir on Wednesday following the overnight killings of two civilians by government forces amid a nearly monthlong security lockdown and protest strikes.
Police said thousands of people held street protests, chanting anti-India slogans. Demonstrations were held in the Pampore area and a neighborhood in Srinagar, the region’s main city.
Locals say government forces fired tear gas in Pampore after thousands of people offered funeral prayers for a young man, one of the two civilians killed overnight.
He was killed when police opened gunfire after being stopped at a roadblock set up by anti-India protesters late Tuesday. A young man who was with him was critically wounded and later hospitalized in Srinagar, a police officer said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters.
The other person killed overnight was a private guard at a bank in Srinagar. His family blamed paramilitary soldiers for fatally shooting him. No other details were available.
Over the past month, the Indian-held portion of Kashmir has seen its largest protests against Indian rule in recent years. The protests started after Indian troops killed a rebel commander July 8. At least 50 civilians and a policeman have been killed in protest-related violence.
Meanwhile, shops, businesses and schools remained closed for the 26th straight day on Wednesday due to a strike called by separatists demanding an end to Indian rule in the region. –AP