SRINAGAR(Zahid Rafiq): As soon as Indian government lifted a 17-day curfew in many parts of Indian-held Kashmir on Tuesday, the regional capital Srinagar saw an immediate resumption of pro-Independence marches and stone-throwing clashes between youth and Indian forces.
A strict curfew remained in southern Indian-held Kashmir, where civilian casualties have been concentrated, and a region-wide suspension on mobile phones and Internet services was also not lifted.
“Curfew has been lifted from all parts of Kashmir except the south. There are no restrictions on movement in Srinagar today,” said police spokesperson Manoj Sheeri.
The region’s resistance leadership also had called for a relaxation in a protest shutdown after 2 p.m. Tuesday, to allow people to stock up on essential supplies ahead of further strikes.
The call was defied by protesting youth who said they would not break the strike and shops, schools and businesses remained shut in the region for an 18th day, while mosques broadcast pro-Independence slogans and songs.
The ongoing unrest was prompted by the killing of 22-year-old militant commander Burhan Wani in a gun battle with Indian forces on July 8.
At least 49 Kashmiri civilians have been killed and over 2,200 wounded since July 8 in firing by the Indian armed forces on pro-Independence protesters.
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 Indian-held Kashmir 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 in Indian Armed force’s counter insurgency operations. India maintains more than half a million troops in the disputed regions.
(Anadolu Agency AA)