Death toll reaches 40 in Kashmir clashes
SRINAGAR (92 News) – At least 40 people are now confirmed dead following days of violent clashes between protesters and Indian forces over the killing of a popular Hurriyet leader in the Indian-held Kashmir (IHK).
Hospitals across the Muslim-majority region have been overwhelmed with patients. Over 1,500 people have been injured, many of them critically.
Doctors at a main government hospital say they performed more eye surgeries in the last three days than they ever did in three years. Medical sources have expressed serious concern that a severe lack of blood and life-saving medicines could cause more deaths.
Previously, protests erupted on Saturday over the killing of Burhan Wani, a charismatic young Hurriyet leader from Kashmir who was shot dead by Indian security forces the previous day.
Tens of thousands attended Wani’s funeral march from 5am on Saturday in his hometown of Tral, despite police warnings to stay at home, and street protests quickly spread across the valley. In ensuing clashes, security forces fired live ammunition at protesters.
Mobile phone networks have been shut down across the heavily militarized valley, while shops and offices are closed and public transport is suspended.
Amid fears of further escalation on Monday night, a grenade attack injured three policemen outside Srinigar, and another officer was taken hostage by a mob demanding the release of three youths arrested earlier for stone-throwing.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had condemned India’s crackdown on civilian protesters and resulting deaths, while he described Wani, 22, a commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen group, as a “Kashmiri leader.”