SRINAGAR, India: At least one man was killed and over a dozen others wounded on Saturday as protests against Indian rule followed by clashes erupted in Indian-controlled Kashmir shortly after Eid prayers, police and residents said.
Shouting slogans “Go India, go back” and “We want freedom,” hundreds of people began marching in the southern Anantnag area but were confronted by government forces firing tear gas, leading to clashes with stone-throwing protesters.
The use of force intensified as the protesters barraged police and paramilitary soldiers with a hail of stones while the troops fired shotgun pellets, injuring at least 17 people.
One young man among the injured died at a hospital. He suffered pellet injuries in his head and throat while at least other men were hit by pellets in their eyes, medics said.
Protests and clashes also were reported at several places across Kashmir, including the main city of Srinagar, after Eid prayers concluded.
Muslim Kashmiris on Saturday were celebrating the Eid al-Fitr holiday to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan and its daytime fasting.
Anti-India sentiment runs deep in Kashmir, a disputed Himalayan territory divided between nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan but claimed by both in its entirety. In recent years, the Indian-controlled portion has seen renewed rebel attacks and repeated public protests against Indian rule.
Rebels have been fighting Indian control since 1989, demanding that the territory be united either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country.
India accuses Pakistan of arming and training the rebels, a charge Pakistan denies.
Most Kashmiris support the rebels’ cause while also participating in civilian street protests against Indian control. Nearly 70,000 people have been killed in the uprising and the ensuing Indian military crackdown.