700 protests mounted in India-held Kashmir since Aug 5

Updated September 16, 2019

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In this file photo, Indian paramilitary troopers stand guard during a lockdown in Srinagar in occupied Kashmir on September 6. — AFP
In this file photo, Indian paramilitary troopers stand guard during a lockdown in Srinagar in occupied Kashmir on September 6. — AFP

SRINAGAR: Occupied Kashmir has seen an average of 20 protests per day against Indian rule over the last six weeks despite a security lockdown to quell unrest, according to a senior government source.

Tensions remain high in the disputed Himalayan region after New Delhi’s controversial decision last month to revoke the territory’s decades old semi-autonomous status.

Despite a curfew, restrictions on movement and the severe curtailment of internet and mobile phone services, public demonstrations against India — mostly in the largest city Srinagar — have been constant, the official said late on Saturday.

Altogether there have been 722 protests since August 5, with Baramulla district in the northwest and Pulwama in the south the biggest hotspots after Srinagar, the source said.

Since that date, nearly 200 civilians and 415 security force members have been injured, according to the source. Ninety-five of the civilians were injured in the last two weeks, the official said.

So far more than 4,100 people — including 170 local political leaders — have been detained across the occupied valley, with 3,000 released in the past two weeks, the source said.

It was unclear whether any politicians were among those released.

Indian authorities have so far insisted that outbreaks of violence have been minimal, and that only five civilians have died since the clampdown started.

The relatives of four of those killed said they believed the security forces were responsible for their deaths.

The latest updates came as police said on Thursday that three men suspected of belonging to a militant organisation were arrested while transporting weapons.

India deployed extra troops ahead of the Aug 5 decision to reinforce some 500,000 soldiers already stationed in the disputed region, one of the most militarised places on the planet.

Published in Dawn, September 16th, 2019