Kashmiri protesters denounce youth’s killing by Indian forces
Large crowds of protesters in Pakistani-administered Kashmir have held a massive rally in condemnation of the recent killing of a youth by the Indian army in the disputed Himalayan valley.
On Sunday, hundreds of demonstrators poured onto the streets of Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, to denounce the recent killing of 16-year-old Suhail Ahmad Sofi at the hands of Indian troopers. Refugees from Indian-ruled Kashmir also attended the massive rally.
The protesters burnt India’s flag and an effigy of its Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and shouted slogans during the demonstration. The angry demonstrators called for the withdrawal of Indian troops from the disputed region.
The latest protest comes a day after Indian forces shot Ahmad Sofi dead during a rally on the outskirts of the city of Srinagar, Indian-controlled Kashmir’s summer capital.
However, relatives say the teen had been picked up by authorities before being shot. “They detained him and held him on a roadside for a while. Later they shot him,” the boy’s uncle Tariq Ahmed Sofi told reporters.
Kashmiri relatives of a teenage student killed by Indian forces mourn over his body in Narbal in the outskirts of Srinagar, April 18, 2015. (© AFP)
Indian law enforcement agencies say they have arrested two policemen involved in the killing of the teenage boy.
Meanwhile, people in Indian-administered Kashmir have held a complete shutdown strike in reaction to the Indian crackdown on the pro-independence movement in Kashmir.
On Saturday, almost all educational institutions, banks, private offices and businesses remained closed, and traffic stayed off the streets in Srinagar and some other major towns in the Kashmir Valley.
Kashmiri pro-independence leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, in a statement had called for a general strike to protest the killing and detention of pro-independence leaders.
The one-day shutdown strike was also supported by the pro-independence groups that oppose New Delhi’s rule over the troubled Himalayan valley.
Kashmir has been the scene of protests over the past week following the killing of the brother of a top pro-independence leader by the Indian army near a southern town.
The latest protest and strike came after Khalid Wani, the brother of a Kashmiri anti-India commander, was shot dead in a gun battle with Indian troops on Monday in Buchoo, a densely forested area, located around 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of Srinagar.
Indian authorities have deployed large contingents of police and paramilitary troops to most parts of Srinagar and several other major towns to prevent street demonstrations.
Indian troops are also in constant clashes with the armed groups seeking independence in the area.
Kashmir lies at the heart of nearly 68 years of hostility between India and Pakistan. Both neighbors claim the region in full but have partial control over it.