Fury in Kashmir After Indian Forces Vehicle Crush Youth To Death; Shotguns Fired At Funeral

Incident is the second in less than a month involving Indian security forces vehicle killing Kashmiri protester during the weekly stone-throwing demonstrations in the restive Himalayan valley

Jun 2, 2018 (DESPARDES/PKONWEB) — Indian occupied Kashmir is once again in the grip of violence after an Indian military vehicle crushed a young man to death in the disputed valley. The funeral procession for the victim turned violent in the occupied Himalayan valley’s summer capital, Srinagar.

Police fired shotgun pellets at the funeral procession after protests erupted. Security forces also sent tear gas into the crowd as mourners prepared to bury the youth run over by a paramilitary vehicle during the demonstration on Friday.

A Kashmiri youth protester carries a Pakistani flag amid tear gas smoke.

Clashes broke out after police used force to stop the march as it was on its way to a graveyard to bury Kaisar Ahmad Bhat.

Police later took custody of Bhat’s body and allowed only a handful of relatives to take his coffin to the main cemetery.

The young protester who died on Friday was critically injured after a police vehicle hit several men during an anti-India demonstration and calls for freedom.

Residents said the armored vehicle drove wildly into a crowd of protesters, crashing into six people and crushing at least two of them.

Eyewitnesses told media that two young protesters were mowed down by the paramilitary vehicle after Friday prayers at Nowhatta locality in Srinagar outside the region’s grand mosque – a focal point for many protests.

Kashmiri protesters surround an Indian paramilitary vehicle that is running over a man in Srinagar on June 1, 2018. (AP)

One of the victims remains in a critical condition. Footage from the scene, which showed the victim struggling under the wheels of the armored vehicle, was widely shared on social media.

Indian officials claimed the demonstrators injured in the collision were trying to drag the soldiers from their vehicle.

“The protesters tried to stop the vehicle but the forces continued to move,” said Shahid Ahmad, a resident who was at the scene.

Ahmed described the incident as “a cold-blooded murder”. “Only that the bullets were not used to kill him.”

Troops and armed officers had imposed a curfew in Srinagar ahead of the funeral, laying razor wire and barricades to control access to the event.

Kaiser Ahmad, 24 yrs old, who was critically injured after a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jeep ran him over, during protests outside Jamia Masjid, after Friday prayers, in Nowhatta area Srinagar. Ahmed succumbed to injuries at Sheri Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences.

The latest violent scenes unfolded despite the Indian government’s declaration two weeks ago that it would halt operations against separatists in Kashmir during the ongoing Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

The unusual cease-fire came after more than a year of intense Indian attacks that killed 218 alleged militants in 2017, the highest one-year total since 2010, according to the South Asia Terrorism Portal.

India’s minister of home affairs, Rajnath Singh, was due to visit Kashmir next week and has expressed a willingness to meet with separatist leaders to discuss prospects for peace.

Anti-India sentiment runs deep into the Kashmir region. The region has witnessed renewed violence after 2016 when a popular rebel commander Burhan Wani was killed in a gunfight. The two-decade-old armed struggle has now been mostly replaced by the street protests– mostly by the youth, generating tensions in the region.

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