Soldiers shoot man at checkpoint in Kashmir, triggering anti-India clashes

Kashmiri villagers run for cover as a teargas shell fired by Indian police men explodes near them during a protest against the killing of a civilian in Makhama village, west of Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, on May 13, 2020. (AP)

Indian soldiers fatally shot a young man at a checkpoint in the Himalayan region of Kashmir on Wednesday, residents and officials said, triggering anti-India protests and clashes in the disputed region.

India’s Central Reserve Police Force said the man was driving a car and ignored signals to stop at two checkpoints in the western outskirts of Srinagar, the region’s main city. It said the soldiers feared sabotage because a military convoy was passing by at the time.

For more coronavirus news, visit our dedicated page.

It said in a statement that a soldier shot the victim “when the car didn’t stop despite warning shots.”

The victim’s father, Ghulam Nabi Shah, denied the police account, saying his son did not drive through any checkpoints, and that soldiers first stopped him and then shot him.

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app

A witness, Firdousa, said the victim stopped his car when soldiers signaled him. “A security official told him something to which he replied that he had some emergency. They let him go but as he was getting into his vehicle, they shot him in the back,” she said. “He was killed deliberately. He did no wrong.”

As news of his death spread in his village, hundreds of men and women began chanting “Go India, go back” and “We want freedom” and demanded that the victim’s body be returned to the family for burial. Authorities did not immediately hand over the body.

Read more: India coronavirus lockdown hampers Kashmiri athletes’ bid for glory

As government forces moved in to stop the villagers from marching, hundreds threw stones at the troops, who fired shotgun pellets and tear gas to quell the protests. There were no immediate reports of casualties in the clashes.

Authorities shut down mobile internet service in the area, a common Indian tactic in the region when such protests erupt.

Read more:

India imposes changes on Kashmir: No Kashmiri flag, constitution

Kashmir an ‘internal affair,’ India tells Pakistan

Pakistan slams India over Kashmir remarks

Indian forces have imposed a stringent lockdown in the region since late March to combat the coronavirus. Despite the lockdown, India has stepped up its counterinsurgency operations while militants have also continued their attacks on government forces and alleged informants.

A Kashmiri villager has his slippers tied to his arm as he holds stones before throwing them at Indian policemen to protest the killing of a civilian in Makhama village, west of Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, on May 13, 2020. (AP)

A Kashmiri villager has his slippers tied to his arm as he holds stones before throwing them at Indian policemen to protest the killing of a civilian in Makhama village, west of Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, on May 13, 2020. (AP)

Indian soldiers man checkpoints and bunkers across the region, where an armed resistance to Indian rule has raged since 1989. Residents make little secret of their anger at the troops' presence and support the rebels’ call for the territory to be united either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country.

India and Pakistan each administer part of Kashmir, but both claim the region in its entirety. About 70,000 people have been killed in the uprising and the ensuing Indian military crackdown.

SHOW MORE
Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 10:02 - GMT 07:02
Top