Another protester killed in India-held Kashmir


RINAGAR: Indian government forces fired shotguns and tear gas in India-held Kashmir on Thursday to break up new protests demanding an end to Indian rule in the disputed region, leaving a young man dead and at least 50 other people injured.
As Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh arrived in the Himalayn region to discuss the unrest with local political, business and other leaders, thousands of residents rallied in Pulwama in southern Kashmir.
A police officer said the clashes erupted after troops tried to stop thousands of people who defied a curfew in the town. He said the protesters hurled rocks at the troops, who fired shotguns and tear gas.
However, the residents said government troops swooped in on a neighbourhood in Pulwama early on Thursday and vandalised a large tent shelter put up for a pro-freedom meeting and also beat up local volunteers.
A resident, Yousuf Bhat, said the troops indiscriminately fired shotguns. He said youths retaliated later with rocks, triggering large clashes in the town.
Among the injured civilians, eight were hospitalised in Srinagar, where a young man named Amir Mir died due to shotgun pellet injuries all over his body, police and doctors said.
Several protests against Indian rule were also reported in other areas of the region.
Some of the largest protests in the disputed region against Indian rule in recent years were sparked by the killing of a popular militant leader on July 8.
Kashmiri leaders opposed to Indian rule in the region, most of them either under house arrest or in police detention, have vowed to continue their struggle and refused to participate in any dialogue before New Delhi accepts Kashmir as a disputed region, releases political prisoners, revokes harsh emergency laws and announces a plan for demilitarisation.
A strict curfew, a series of communication blackouts and an intensified crackdown since July 8 have failed to stop the deadly protests against Indian rule. Residents have struggled to cope with shortages of food, medicine and other necessities.