Asia

Death toll from Kashmir clashes rises to 20

Indian officials have updated the death toll from the ongoing unrest in the Himalayan state of Jammu and Kashmir, saying that 20 people are now confirmed dead following the clashes between protesters and riot police over the killing of a popular rebel leader.

Four protesters and a police officer were killed in India’s northern Jammu and Kashmir state on Sunday, police said, raising the death toll in violence sparked by the death of a separatist leader to 20 since Friday, Reuters reported.

Indian authorities have for the second day extended the curfew to the whole Kashmir valley, including the major city of Srinagar.

The clashes came after residents of Kashmir held a funeral for separatist Burhan Wani, the young leader of Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), who was killed on July 8 along with two other people during a brief gun battle with government forces.

During the past five years, Wani had become the iconic face of militancy in Kashmir, using social media to reach out to young people in the region.

Wani’s body was handed over to his family earlier on Saturday and the locals, who see the slain 22-year old as a hero, turned the mass funeral into a full-scale protest.

According to Indian police, anti-riot troops used live ammunition, pellet guns and tear gas to disperse the crowds and calm down the outrage. Authorities have also suspended mobile networks and the internet to prevent massive demonstrations.

Reports say that at least 200 people, including 90 government forces, were injured during the clashes.

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