Clashes hit Indian-occupied Kashmir on Eid festival
Indian government forces fired tear gas and pellet guns at protesters brandishing Pakistani flags as the occupied territory of Kashmir marked the Muslim festival of Eid on Monday.
Authorities detained some pro-separatist political leaders to try to avert trouble on Eid, the day of festivities that marks the end of the Ramadan fasting month.
But stone-throwing started as tens of thousands of people poured out of mosques in the main city of Srinagar after midday prayers. About 10 people were injured, according to Indian media.
Daily troubles left 51 people dead during Ramadan in the Indian-held territory, which is also claimed by Pakistan, according to the Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society.
Civilians have been killed as they try to stop police and troops arresting militants. A police deputy superintendent was beaten to death by a crowd outside one Srinagar mosque last Thursday.
More than 50,000 people gathered for prayers at the Hazratbal shrine and over 40,000 at the Eidgah mosque. Youths started hurling stones at security forces as the masses poured onto the streets. Many waved Pakistan flags.
Clashes were also reported in the Sopore, Anantnag, Rajpora, Shopian and Safkadal areas in and on the fringes of the city.
Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq were among the pro-separatist politicians held under house arrest for the Ramadan climax.
Farooq called the Indian government “shameless” in a tweet in which he said he had been prevented for eight years from giving an Eid sermon.
Kashmir is expected to remain tense in the run-up to the July 8 anniversary of the killing of separatist commander Burhan Wani.
India last week deployed about 2,000 extra troops in southern Kashmir, according to media reports.
But in a special Ramadan video message released Monday, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said he was “fully confident that this festival of goodness and humanity will help in bringing peace, understanding, brotherhood and happiness in Kashmir Valley and pave the way for a new dawn there.”
Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since their partition in 1947. Both claim the Himalayan region in its entirety.