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22 ppl killed in Kashmir

11 July, 2016

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SRINAGAR: Authorities in India-held Kashmir (IHK) were struggling Monday to contain protests by residents angry after 22 people were killed in weekend demonstrations as youths defied a curfew to rally in the streets against the killing of top Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.

Wani, the Hizbul Mujahideen chief of operations, was killed in fighting on Friday after Indian troops, acting on a tip, cordoned a forested village in the southern Kashmir's Kokernag area, said Police Director-General K. Rajendra. Two other members of Wani's group were also killed in the gun battle.

Indian authorities imposed an indefinite curfew in most parts of IHK after Wani was killed, but massive protests continued despite attempts to suppress violence.

Paramilitary troops and police in riot gear patrolled villages and towns in the region. Most shops were shuttered, businesses were closed and cellphone services were suspended.

But by noon Monday, crowds were ignoring the clampdown to gather in parts of the main city of Srinagar and other towns.

In his early 20s, Wani, had become the iconic face of militancy in Kashmir over the last five years. The son of a school headmaster, he regularly posted video messages online dressed in military fatigues and invited young men to join the movement against Indian rule.

As news of Wani's death spread, crowds of angry youths gathered to throw rocks at Indian police and paramilitary soldiers and shout "Go India, go back!"

Police said that some police and paramilitary posts were attacked, and that some homes of pro-India politicians were burned.

At least 19 civilians and one policeman were killed in clashes Saturday and Sunday, as law enforcement officers used live ammunition, pellet guns and tear gas to try to break up the protests. Most of those killed were young men under the age of 26 from southern IHK, police said.

In addition, more than 150 civilians and 90 government troops have been injured in clashes with Indian troops. At least 10 of the injured civilians were in serious condition.

Pakistan on Sunday condemned the "extra-judicial killing of Kashmiri leader Burhan Wani and scores of other innocent Kashmiris", terming such acts a "violation of the fundamental human rights of Kashmiris".

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