1 killed during Kashmir protest marking separatist's hanging

AP News
Posted: Feb 09, 2015 8:19 AM
1 killed during Kashmir protest marking separatist's hanging

SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Anti-India demonstrators clashed with government forces in the disputed region of Kashmir on Monday, leaving one civilian dead and another critically wounded as the separatists protested the secret execution two years ago of a former Kashmiri rebel, police said.

One of several protests staged across the Himalayan region turned violent, with government forces firing on the stone-throwing crowd, a police officer said on customary condition of anonymity. One of the protesters died at the scene in Palhalam village, north of the main city of Srinagar, while another was taken to a hospital in critical condition.

Hundreds of police and paramilitary soldiers were patrolling the region during a strike called by anti-India separatists to mark the anniversary of the execution. Srinagar's streets were nearly deserted as shops and offices closed.

Authorities imposed a curfew in parts of Srinagar and detained at least 100 anti-India activists to prevent violent protests.

Kashmiris were incensed when Mohammed Afzal Guru was hanged in secret in a New Delhi jail. Many in Kashmir believe Guru was not given a fair trial on charges of involvement in a 2001 attack on Parliament that killed 14 people, including five gunmen.

Guru had fought earlier with rebels in an armed uprising that started in 1989 in the Himalayan region. An estimated 68,000 people were killed in the uprising and ensuing Indian crackdown.

Anti-India separatists have long demanded either independence or a merger with neighboring Pakistan. India and Pakistan each administer a portion of Kashmir. Both claim the region in its entirety.

Separatists have called for another strike on Wednesday to mark the 1984 hanging of pro-independence leader Mohammed Maqbool Butt, who was executed for killing an intelligence officer.

The separatists have demanded that both Guru's and Butt's remains be returned to the region for burial. They are both buried at New Delhi's main jail.