SRINAGAR, India – Indian authorities imposed restrictions on Sunday on movement and telephone connections following the death of two young people in army gunfire in the Kashmir Valley in northern India where separatists have called for a total strike.
The Deputy Commissioner of Srinagar – the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir state –, Syed Abdul Rashid, told EFE that “restrictions have been imposed on the movement of people in the jurisdiction of seven police zones as a precautionary measure to maintain law and order.”
The restrictions, similar to a curfew, also cover large areas south of the valley, where the incident occurred Saturday.
Javed Ahmad and Suhail Lone, two young men aged 23 and 18 respectively and who were part of a group of protesters pelting stones at an army convoy, were shot dead by the military in Ganowpora in Shopian district.
Following the shooting, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, contacted the Defense Ministry warning against such kinds of incidents that hinder the political process in the state, according to a statement by the Kashmiri government.
Separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Farooq and Yasin Malik called a general strike in the valley Sunday for the “cold-blooded crime of killing two unarmed young men.”
A communications officer from the Defense Ministry, Colonel Rajesh Kalia told EFE that the soldiers opened fire in self-defense after being attacked.
“Many soldiers were injured by the throwing of stones and several vehicles were badly damaged, causing the soldiers to open fire in self-defense,” he said.
Kashmir has seen a return to some peace after months of violent protests that began in July 2016 with the death of a young insurgent.
More than 100 people died and thousands were injured – many sustaining severe ocular injuries – by the repression of the army during these protests that fuelled the separatist sentiment.
Located at the foothills of the Himalayas, Kashmir is the only Indian region with a Muslim majority.
Pakistan has claimed complete sovereignty over the region since the partition of the subcontinent in 1947 and its independence from the British Empire.
The two nations have waged two wars and minor conflicts over this territory, separated by a provisional border dividing it into two Kashmirs and making it one of the most militarized zones in the world.