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Kashmir fear after mob drowns policeman

Kashmir fear after mob drowns policeman

There are fears of more violence in Indian-administered Kashmir, after a policeman drowned when an angry crowd pushed his car in a river late Sunday.

At least 23 people have died and many more injured in clashes over the death of a popular separatist commander.

Burhan Wani, 22 died in a gunfight with the Indian army on Friday.

Kashmir, claimed in its entirety by both India and Pakistan, has been a flashpoint for more than 60 years, sparking wars between the countries.

Within the disputed Muslim-majority territory, some militant groups took up arms for independence or a merger with Pakistan and it has seen clashes that have sometimes spilled onto the streets.

In the latest incident, the culmination of a weekend of violence, a crowd in the Jhelum area pelted a police officer’s car with stones and pushed it into a river where he drowned while inside the vehicle.

What sparked the violence?

The violence was sparked by the death of Wani, a commander of the region’s largest rebel group, Hizbul Mujahideen.

Thousands attended his funeral which was held in his hometown of Tral, about 40km (25 miles) south of Srinagar, on Saturday.

The Indian government said no police or security personnel were present at his funeral, to avoid a confrontation with the angry crowd.

But afterwards police stations and military installations were attacked in violent clashes, with several buildings burned down, police added.

The state government has said that it will also investigate reports of excessive police violence towards unarmed protesters.

What is the fear now?

Analysts say the streets are tense as people fear retaliatory violence in the wake of a weekend of clashes.

Rights groups have described the current situation as a state of emergency. Hospitals remain filled with wounded protesters and phone and internet services were suspended.

The BBC’s South Asia correspondent, Justin Rowlatt, says this is the worst violence in the region for some years and the fear is that if it is not brought under control soon, many more people could be killed and injured.

The level of separatist insurgency violence in the region has ebbed and flowed since 1989, but it has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people, mainly civilians.

 

Source: BBC

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