UPDATE – India imposes Kashmir curfew following clashes


By Zahid Rafiq

SRINAGAR, Jammu Kashmir (AA) – Indian authorities imposed curfew across Jammu Kashmir on Friday, banning prayers in the region’s main mosques and blocking mobile telephone and Internet access following protests against Indian rule.

At least 38 civilians have been killed and more than 2,500 wounded in pro-independence demonstrations triggered by the killing of a Kashmiri militant commander, Burhan Muzaffar Wani, in a gun battle with security forces last week. The figures were provided by medical sources who requested anonymity.

The curfew was announced Thursday night and early Friday police used loudhailers to warn residents to stay at home.

Tens of thousands of Indian police and troops have been deployed across the Kashmir valley’s 10 districts to enforce the curfew as tensions remain high.

Around a dozen of the hundreds of injured civilians are in a critical state.

A police source, speaking on condition of anonymity due to security concerns, said the area had been quiet but highlighted the period after Friday prayers as a potential flashpoint.

Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is split between areas controlled by India and Pakistan, who both claim the entire region as their territory.

The countries have fought three wars — in 1948, 1965 and 1971 — since they were partitioned in 1947, two of which were over Kashmir.

Since 1989, Kashmiri resistance groups in Jammu Kashmir have been fighting for independence or unification with Pakistan.

More than 70,000 people have been reportedly killed in the conflict, most in counter-insurgency operations by Indian security forces. India maintains more than 500,000 troops in the disputed region.