SRINAGAR: Protesters and government forces in Indian-held Kashmir clashed for a second day Sunday as anger over the death of an influential Kashmiri boiled over, with 18 people killed in some of the worst civilian unrest to hit the region since 2010.
Another 200 people have been wounded in the violence, many of them protesters who were hit when government forces fired tear gas canisters and live ammunition on Saturday.
Thousands of residents of the disputed region are defying a government-imposed curfew to take to the streets in protest at the killing on Friday of Kashmiri leader Burhan Wani.
The state government, which has also cut off internet and mobile phone networks to try to stop the protests spreading, called for calm on Sunday.
Police say protesters have set police stations on fire and thrown rocks at army camps in the south of the restive region.
Shams Irfan, a local journalist who traveled to Tral, where authorities had cut electricity, blocked roads and the internet as part of the wider crackdown on protesters, was quoted as saying by Al Jazeera that the demonstrations in southern Kashmir were “the biggest he had ever seen”.
Khurram Parvez, programme director of Jammu Kashmir Coalition for Civil Society (JKCCS) in Srinagar, described Wani’s death as an extra-judicial killing, saying the Indian government had made no attempt to arrest him. He said that Wani was an example of a rebel who had not joined out of ideological reasons.
“He joined because he was humilated on the streets, his brother was tortured, this is where his resentment for the Indian government came from, and this is why Kashmiri’s identified with him.”