Several injured in Kashmir in clashes with Indian police
* At least six hit by pellets fired by Indian security
* Residents complain of heavy-handed tactics by security
* India eases some curbs but normalisation some way off
* Some people in Srinagar able to use landline phones again
* UN Security Council decides not to issue a statement
(Updates with new material throughout)
By Zeba Siddiqui and Fayaz Bukhari
SRINAGAR, India, Aug 17 (Reuters) - Indian security forces
injured at least six people on Saturday in Srinagar, the main
city in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir, as several
protests broke out against New Delhi's revocation of the
region's autonomy last week.
In New York, the U.N. Security Council held its first
meeting in almost 50 years on Kashmir, a majority Muslim region
claimed by both India and Pakistan - which controls its western
third. However, China, which also controls a small part of
Kashmir, failed to secure a Council statement.
Two police officials and eyewitnesses said clashes had begun
on Friday evening.
Some city residents said they had been assaulted or verbally
abused and that security forces had caused damage as they raided
homes after stone-throwing incidents in the past two days.
Jammu and Kashmir state officials and federal government
officials in New Delhi did not respond to the allegations or
give any estimates of the number of stone-throwing incidents,
raids, arrests or injuries.
The state government said its spokesman Rohit Kansal had
told a news conference in Srinagar that the situation remained
"peaceful, with no untoward incident reported from the areas
where relaxation was given in prohibitory orders".
It was not immediately clear whether this included the areas
of Srinagar where clashes took place on Friday night and
LOCKDOWNS STILL IN PLACE
Telephone landlines were restored in parts of the city after
a 12-day blackout and Kansal said most telephone exchanges in
the region would start working by Sunday evening. The state's
internet and cellphones remained blocked, however.
In addition, many of the region's urban areas remained in
lockdown, and more than 500 political or community leaders and
activists remained in detention, some of them having been flown
to prisons outside the state.
Six men from Srinagar's Soura and Chadoora districts who
were injured by pellets fired by security forces were treated on
Saturday afternoon at the Sri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital, two
hospital officials said on condition of anonymity.
A spokesman said the hospital was "collecting information on
Among the victims was Gulam Rasool, who runs a shawl shop in
the Alikadal area and was stepping out of his home when
paramilitary troops hit him with at least 20 pellets, according
to his son Naseer Ahmed, sitting by his father's hospital bed.
Rasool lay staring at the ceiling in a blue 'kurta' shirt
stained with blood.
In the Bemina area of Srinagar, at least a dozen witnesses
said police and paramilitary officials had raided several homes
on Friday afternoon, picking up at least six men and damaging
houses with stones and rods.
Some people close to the area had hurled stones at security
forces earlier in the day, the witnesses said.
DAMAGE AND ARRESTS
Shahida, 25, said her husband Riyaz Ahmad Dar had been
having tea on the first floor of their home when at least 15
police and paramilitary officials forced their way in, smashing
ground floor windows and arresting her husband and his cousin.
In tears, she said her two-month-old son had been sleeping
on the carpeted floor close to the window. "I grabbed him, but
they beat my husband ruthlessly," she said. "They sell crockery
items - they are not stone pelters."
Eighteen-year-old Simran Shahnawaz had a bandage on her toe
where she said a police officer had hit her with an iron rod.
Her family pointed to broken cupboards and a shattered LCD
screen, which they said had been smashed in the raid. "I can’t
even tell you the kind of insults they hurled at us," Shahnawaz
India has been fighting a revolt for 30 years in the part of
Kashmir it controls, in which at least 50,000 people have been
killed. Critics say the decision to revoke autonomy will cause
further alienation and fuel the armed resistance.
The change will allow non-residents to buy property in Jammu
and Kashmir, and end the practice of reserving state government
jobs for local residents.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has said the
measure is necessary to integrate Kashmir fully into India and
speed up its development.
The move has raised tensions on the heavily militarised
border between the Indian- and Pakistani-controlled parts of
Kashmir. An Indian soldier was killed in cross-border firing on
Saturday, according to a report from Reuters' partner agency,
ANI. The Pakistan military had said three of its soldiers had
been killed on the border earlier in the week.
(Editing by Martin Howell and Kevin Liffey)
First Published: 2019-08-17 13:55:48
Updated 2019-08-17 20:30:10
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