Seven Kashmiris martyred as India continues to spill blood

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–Srinagar now looks like a ghost-town: armed soldiers on street corners and in front of barbed wire barricades make up most of the few people to be seen

SRINAGAR: Indian troops in held-Kashmir on Wednesday martyred seven Kashmiris and injured over 100 others as they resorted to firing on unarmed protesters, who were gathering, violating curfew, to demonstrate against the decision to rid Kashmir of special status.

According to Jammu Kashmir Police, the Indian forces’ personnel fired teargas shells and pellets on protesters in Srinagar.

The troops fired bullets, pellets and teargas shells on the protesters killing at least six of them and injuring many others. Media reports said that, at least, six people with gunshot wounds caused by lethal weapons were brought to a Srinagar hospital on Monday.

Meanwhile, the communication of the entire Kashmiri population with the outside world remains suspended as the Indian government continues to shut television channels and snap telephone and internet links in a bid to prevent protests.

In a separate incident, a protester died after being chased by police during a curfew in occupied Kashmir’s main city, left in turmoil by an Indian government move to tighten control over the restive region, a police official said on Wednesday.

The death was confirmed by police after the government passed a presidential decree on Monday stripping the Muslim majority region of its longstanding semi-autonomous privileges. Despite a paralysing curfew, imposed to head off unrest, sporadic protests have been reported by residents in Srinagar.

A police official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP that in one incident a youth being chased by police “jumped into the Jhelum river and died”.

‘SRINAGAR A GHOST TOWN’:

Meanwhile, Kashmir’s capital Srinagar looked like a ghost town, with a stringent curfew entering the third day.

Home to more than one million people, Srinagar now looks like a ghost-town: armed soldiers on street corners and in front of barbed wire barricades make up most of the few people to be seen.

Armed Indian soldiers stand in front of barbed wire in occupied Kashmir’s near-silent summer capital of Srinagar during a massive security lockdown imposed on the restive region by the Hindu nationalist government.

Information from the Himalayan region – one of the most militarised in the world – is scarce. All phone connections and the internet were cut when the curfew was imposed.

Indian soldiers man checkpoints about every 100 metres on main roads in the city. Only people in essential jobs are allowed to leave their homes.

Virtually every shop is closed and residents said no fresh produce is arriving.

Most people stocked up with supplies of food in the days ahead of the curfew as rumours mounted that the New Delhi government was about to make its constitutional move, stripping Kashmir of its special privileges.

With the curfew biting, only soldiers and police of the occupation force loiter in front of apparently abandoned buses and colourful trucks that block streets of shuttered stores.

Pigeons and stray dogs in the city’s scenic squares are untroubled by tourists, who journey to the region to enjoy the picturesque lake and local handicrafts and touts attempting to hawk the latest wares.