SRINAGAR: Indian soldiers fired on a stone-throwing crowd defying a curfew in the Kashmir region, killing three people, police said on Tuesday, as unrest sparked by the death of a separatist militant flared.
Authorities have imposed a curfew in Muslim-majority Kashmir for 11 days, blocked mobile phones and briefly ordered curbs on newspapers to stop people from gathering and to control the worst outbreak of violence there in six years.
“Some miscreants then tried to snatch weapons from the army and tried to set vehicles on fire,” a police spokesman said on Tuesday.
The army opened fire after the protesters refused to heed warnings and two women were killed, the spokesman said.
A third person died in hospital on Tuesday, taking the death toll to 42 since protests erupted on July 9 over the killing of Burhan Wani, 22, a commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen militant group, the previous day.
India lifts ban on printing Kashmir newspapers
Authorities in India-held Kashmir lifted a three-day ban on the publication of newspapers imposed during massive anti-India protests that left dozens of people dead and hundreds injured, and editors said they will decide together whether to resume publication later Tuesday.
"Government conveyed to us that it was a mistake. But we will require their reassurances about safety of our workers, reporters and printing presses," Masood Hussain, a senior journalist and editor of English weekly Kashmir Life, said.
Editors had denounced the ban as "gagging and enforcing emergency on media."
The largest street protests in recent years in the disputed region erupted more than a week ago after Indian troops killed a popular young rebel leader.
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State government spokesman and Education Minister Nayeem Akhtar said when the ban was imposed Friday that it was aimed at "saving lives and strengthening peace efforts".
Police raided newspaper offices, detained printing press workers and seized tens of thousands of local newspapers. In addition to the printing ban, cellular and internet services were absent and landline phone access limited, except in Kashmir's main city of Srinagar.
The information void was fueling a cycle of rumors in the restive region.
The protests, marked by clashes between rock-throwing Kashmiris and troops firing live ammunition, pellet guns and tear gas, persisted despite a strict curfew in place for the eleventh straight day Tuesday. Streets were mostly deserted otherwise, and with shops still closed, people were trying to cope with shortages of food, medicine and other necessities.
The latest fatality was reported on Tuesday after a woman injured in Indian army firing overnight died in a hospital in Srinagar, a police officer said.
Two people, including a woman, were killed in the clash late Monday after soldiers fired at rock-throwing protesters in southern Qazigund area, said the officer speaking on a customary condition of anonymity.
The clashes have killed at least 46 people, mostly teens and young men, and a policeman since July 9. Nearly 2,000 civilians and about 1,600 government troops have been injured.
Separatist leaders have extended their strike call until Thursday afternoon followed by a shutdown and protests on Friday. The key leaders, Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik, in a statement late Monday said Indian leaders were "blinded by their own propaganda ... to the extent that (they're) unable to understand and accept the genuineness of people's anger and self-drive for freedom and justice."