SRINAGAR: June 29, 2016 (Xinhua) — Violent protests broke out in Indian-held Kashmir Tuesday with irate youth setting ablaze a police vehicle to protest the killing of a militant commander, police said.
The police vehicle was set ablaze at village Hardeshiva in Sopore, about 65 km northwest of Srinagar city, the summer capital of Indian-held Kashmir.
“The vehicle carrying prisoners was stopped by the protesters and set ablaze,” a police official said. “However, all the prisoners are safe.”
Reports said people in the area including youth took to streets to protest the killing of a local militant commander Sameer Ahmad Wani.
Wani according to Indian military was killed in a gunfight on Tuesday morning in Kupwara district.
“Based on specific intelligence about the presence of a militant at Nagri village in Kupwara, a joint operation was launched by the army and police. As the operation progressed and the suspected house was cordoned, security forces made number of attempts to convince the militant to surrender by making announcement but the militant resorted to firing following which a gun battle ensued which ended with his elimination,” Indian military spokesman Col. N N Joshi said.
No sooner the news about Wani’s killing reached his native place in Sopore, hundreds of residents including women and children came out in mourning. The mourners were shouting anti-India and pro-freedom slogans to protest his killing, eyewitnesses said.
Clashes broke out in the area with protesters throwing stones and brickbats at police, which responded by firing tear smoke shells and warning shots to disperse people.
Wani’s body was taken in a procession for funeral prayers and subsequent burial. Locals said the procession was one of the largest in the recent times.
Anti-India sentiment runs deep in the psyche of majority of Kashmiris.
Last week six militants were killed during a day in two different gunfights in the region.
A separatist movement and guerilla war challenging New Delhi’s rule has been going on in Indian-controlled Kashmir since 1989. Gunfights between the militants and Indian troops take place intermittently across the region.
More than 68,000 people have been killed in the uprising and the subsequent Indian military crackdown. India accuses Pakistan of arming and training the rebels, a charge Islamabad denies.
Kashmir, the Himalayan region divided between India and Pakistan, is claimed by both in full. Since their Independence from Britain, the two countries have fought three wars, two exclusively over Kashmir.