Kashmir protests to intensify after 11-year-old killed
Kashmiri separatists threatened to intensify protests in the Indian-run state, as demonstrators defied a curfew on Tuesday to mark the death of an 11-year-old boy Monday. About 65 protesters and bystanders have been killed over the past 11 weeks.
Thousands of police and paramilitary forces on Tuesday sealed off neighbourhoods in Srinagar with barbed wire and iron barriers but young men, many wearing masks, defied the curfew and swarmed onto the streets, chanting separatist slogans.
Police shot dead the boy, who was earlier reported to have been nine, during a violent demonstration against Delhi rule in the southern town of Anantnag.
Yasir Sheikh, a cousin of separatist leader Yasin Malik was also seriously wounded in the state’s main town Srinagar on Monday.
Sheikh is in a serious condition after being shot. A police constable has been suspended and taken into custody after witnesses say he opened fire without provocation as young men were playing a board game outside Malik’s home.
Meanwhile, Syef Al Geelani, the leader of the separatist Hurriyet alliance, has threatened to take the protests up a notch unless Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pledges that there will be no more deaths or arrests.
Geelani, who is seen as spearheading recent protests, put four other demands to the Indian government – declaring Kashmir an international dispute, pulling out Indian troops, conviction of security forces responsible for the recent deaths and release of political prisoners.
Among the prisoners whose release Geelani is demanding is Mohammed Afzal Guru, a Kashmiri Muslim man sentenced to death for his role in a deadly attack on India's parliament in 2001.