Kashmir students clash with India police after lockdown ends
SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Students protesting Indian rule in disputed Kashmir clashed with government forces on Thursday after authorities reopened schools following the killings of 13 rebels and five civilians.
Government forces fired tear gas to stop students from marching at several colleges in Indian-controlled Kashmir’s main city of Srinagar. The students chanted anti-India slogans and marched on the streets in the city center while demanding an end of Indian rule over the region.
Clashes also erupted in other parts of Kashmir as students hurled rocks at police and paramilitary soldiers. They also burned a police bunker in Srinagar.
Some students were reportedly injured in the clashes.
The students were protesting the killings of 13 rebels and five civilians on Sunday in fighting with Indian troops. At least three Indian soldiers were also killed in the fighting, which was followed by a security clampdown and a strike called by separatists who challenge India’s sovereignty over Kashmir.
Authorities shut schools and colleges and canceled university exams in an attempt to stop protests by students.
Earlier Thursday, businesses and shops reopened and public transport resumed operating in the region after four days.
In recent years, Kashmiris, mainly students, have displayed open solidarity with anti-India rebels and sought to protect them by engaging troops in street clashes during military operations against the militants. The protests have persisted despite the Indian army chief warning that tough action would be taken against stone-throwers during counterinsurgency operations.
Nuclear-armed India and Pakistan each administer part of Kashmir, but both claim it in its entirety.
Anti-India sentiment runs deep in Kashmir, which in recent years has seen renewed rebel attacks and repeated public protests against Indian rule.
Rebels have been fighting Indian rule since 1989, demanding Kashmir be made part of Pakistan or become 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.