Kashmir shut down after civilian killings

Separatists call for three-day strike in India-administered Kashmir after four protesters are killed by security forces.

    Kashmir shut down after civilian killings
    Four people were killed at a protest against alleged desecration of the Quran by security personnel [AFP]

    Residents in India-administered Kashmir are observing a shutdown, called for by religious and separatist leaders in protest at the killing of four civilians by paramilitary forces in Ramban district.

    A curfew was enforced across the Kashmir valley on Friday to stop any further protests, as separatists called for a three-day strike.

    More than 40 people were wounded in the firing on Thursday in Gool town of Ramban district, about 145km from the main city, Srinagar, when people were protesting against what they said was the desecration of the Quran by the Border Security Force (BSF) personnel.

    One resident said the whole of Kashmir had been shut down.

    "Today the whole of Kashmir is closed as there was an incident in Ramban yesterday and so we are observing a peaceful shutdown. There is a curfew on the call of Hurriyat [separatist] leaders for three days," Lateef Ahmad said.

    The annual Amarnath Yatra performed by Hindu pilgrims in the Kashmir Valley has been halted, local news channel NDTV reported.

    'Ghastly' incident

    India's Interior Minister, Sushilkumar Shinde, on Thursday ordered an inquiry into the shooting and appealed for calm in the tense Himalayan region.

    It is highly unacceptable to shoot at unarmed protesters just because they were reportedly protesting manhandling of an imam of their area.

    Omar Abdullah, chief minister

    Omar Abullah, the state's chief minister, warned that the "ghastly incident" risked igniting wider unrest.

    "It is highly unacceptable to shoot at unarmed protesters just because they were reportedly protesting manhandling of an imam of their area," Abdullah said in a statement.

    Rajiv Krishan, the inspector general of the BSF, said his men and police fired to disperse a violent mob trying to get into a post where arms and ammunition were stored.

    Protesters said four members of the BSF had barged into an Islamic school in Dadad village on Wednesday night and beaten students and desecrated the Quran.

    Krishan rejected the protesters' accusation, saying "anti-national elements" had instigated the protest.

    A revolt against Indian rule has simmered for decades in Kashmir, the country's only Muslim-majority state.

    The region is divided between India and Pakistan, both of which claim all of the territory.

    They have fought two of their three wars over the region.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.