གཟའ་ལྷག་པ། ༢༠༢༢/༠༩/༢༨

Indian Soldiers Fire at Kashmir Protesters, 1 Killed

Kashmiri Muslim protesters throw stones at government forces in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Sept. 23, 2016.

One person was killed and dozens of others wounded Friday when Indian government forces fired live ammunition and shotgun pellets to stop protests against Indian rule in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, police said.

A police officer said the man died in the northwestern Sopore area after soldiers fired at protesters who attacked an army convoy with stones.

The officer spoke on condition of anonymity in keeping with department policy.

However, residents said the 22-year-old man was working in his orchard and soldiers fired at him from their vehicle.

The news of the death brought hundreds of villagers to the streets, where they chanted slogans such as ``We want freedom'' and clashed with government forces.

Clashes also erupted in at least three other places, and at least 30 people were reported injured.

Earlier, government forces blocked worshippers from offering Friday prayers at large mosques for the 11th consecutive week. However, prayers were allowed at small neighborhood mosques.

Kashmir is witnessing the largest protests against Indian rule in recent years, sparked by the July 8 killing of a popular rebel commander by Indian soldiers. The protests, and a sweeping security crackdown, have all but paralyzed life in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

More than 80 civilians have been killed and thousands injured, including hundreds blinded and maimed, mostly by government forces firing bullets and shotgun pellets at rock-throwing protesters. Two policemen have also been killed and hundreds of government forces have been injured in the clashes.

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan but claimed by both. Most people in the Indian-controlled portion favor independence or a merger with Pakistan.

A militant uprising and subsequent Indian military crackdown since 1989 have killed more than 68,000 people.