|Locals face power cuts of up to 16 hours a day despite winter temperatures as low as minus 16 Celsius. [EPA]|
Troops in Indian-controlled Kashmir have opened fire on hundreds of villagers who were protesting against frequent
power cuts, killing one person and injuring two others, police said.
Police said on Monday that the paramilitary troops belonging to India’s Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) began shooting as the protesters shouted slogans outside the main gate of a power plant near Baramulla town in northern Indian-administered Kashmir.
One protester was shot dead and two others were hospitalised, with their condition said to be critical.
The killing triggered protests from locals who were demonstrating in front of the National Hydroelectric Power
Corporation (NHPC) run Uri power plant situated in the region.
The Indian magazine Tehelka reported that Indian police from the Jammu and Kashmir state government arrested five CISF officers said to have been involved in the incident in a bid to prevent reprisals from the surrounding community.
An estimated 500 people had gathered to stage the demonstration when the troops opened fire to disperse the crowd.
Tehelka reported that the state government immediately took up the issue with the interior ministry and released a statement.
“The protest was against the NHPC and it was appropriate for the NHPC to have sought the assistance of the local law and order machinery rather than dealing with them on their own,” Tehelka quoted the state government as having said.
The Himalayan region faces power cuts of up to 16 hours a day despite bitterly cold winter temperatures as low as minus 16 Celsius.
Meanwhile, the DNA news website reported that Jammu and Kashmir police are set to launch three special police stations to fight cyber crime focused on “inflammatory and obscene postings on social networking sites”.
While the special police stations will fight cyber crime, including credit card and lottery frauds conducted online, DNA reported that there will be a special focus on defamatory campaigns conducted on social media sites, including Facebook.
The social networking site Facebook was the site of immense anti-India sentiment during the Summer 2010 protests in the valley.
Kashmir has been the bone of contention between India and Pakistan since 1947.
The restive region has witnessed numerous armed attacks, insurgency and infiltration attempts from across the line of control with Pakistan over the past two decades.
There are frequent protests in the Indian-controlled portion in favour of self-determination and between 50,000 to 70,000 people have been killed since the insurgency began in 1989.