Pakistan

Death toll in Kashmir rises to 70, over 1,000 protesters arrested

Kashmir

SRINAGAR, INDIAN-HELD KASHMIR: Indian forces arrested more than a thousand protesters in Indian-held Kashmir in a bid to shun deadly anti-India demonstrations during which at least 70 civilians have been killed.

The conflict-hit valley of Kashmir has been under a security lockdown and curfew since the killing of Burhan Wani, a popular commander, on July 8 sparked some of the largest protests against Indian rule in recent years.

Tens of thousands of people have defied the curfew and participated in street protests, often leading to clashes between rock-throwing residents and government forces firing live ammunition, shotgun pellets and tear gas.

On Monday, tens of thousands of troops patrolled streets ringed with barbed wire and enforced a curfew in most parts of Kashmir. Shops and schools were closed because of the security crackdown and a protest strike.

However, protests demanding the end of Indian rule over the region continued in several places, with reports of clashes between protesters and government forces in various locations.

The region has remained locked down since, as prominent Kashmiri leaders opposed to Indian rule called for strikes and protests and Indian authorities responded by suspending most mobile networks and internet and clamped rolling curfews in large parts of the territory including Srinagar.

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan, which have fought two wars over control of the region since British colonialists left the subcontinent in 1947.

India accuses Pakistan of arming and training Kashmiri rebels who have been fighting for independence or for a merger with Pakistan since 1989. Pakistan denies the charge, saying it only provides moral and political support to Kashmiris.

Meanwhile, in New Delhi, opposition lawmakers on Monday questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence over the situation in Kashmir and demanded that the government take political steps to defuse the crisis.

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