Indian paramilitary forces opened fire on demonstrators today, killing at least seven and injuring dozens more, after protests erupted at a security base in Kashmir. The incident, which took place in Ramban district, marks yet another confrontation between Kashmiris and Indian occupying forces this year in the contested Himalayan region.
The protests started in response to an incident yesterday, when Indian Border Security Forces (BSF) allegedly entered a mosque looking for militants, according to The Associated Press. Protesters claim the BSF troops assaulted a caretaker and desecrated a Quran.
BSF Inspector General Rajive Krishan denied that the incident happened, saying protests began because of “antinational elements,” reports Reuters. “Our men used the force for self defence,” Krishan said.
After rumors of the allegations spread, protesters gathered in front of BSF headquarters when shots were fired into the crowd. Tensions have since been high in Ramban, where a group of angry demonstrators tried to set the district magistrate’s office on fire, writes the Times of India.
Local authorities have imposed a curfew in Ramban, reports NDTV. They have also shut down mobile Internet access.
The shooting in Ramban today has only aggravated tensions. Protests broke out as far away as Srinagar today, 110 miles’ distance, reports Reuters. Other demonstrators blocked a main highway.
Meanwhile, the Indian government is appealing to people to maintain calm, according to the Hindustan Times.
In New Delhi, Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde ordered an inquiry into the firing incident in Ramban district and said any excessive use of force will be dealt with strictly.
Kashmir is the most disputed area of South Asian Region, it is considered to be the most militarized land on earth. Kashmir movement is considered to be the most mature movement, which witnessed many ups and downs. The last ten years, however, were the years when, educated class of Kashmiris joined in the freedom movement from India.
Kashmiris, in recent years, demonstrated in a unique way of Stone pelting, commonly known as Intifada- Al-Kashmir. The agitation, was non-violent as compared to heavy fire power that Indians use to suppress such agitations.
The recent incident of Ramban, came after just a few days, when Kashmiris observed their martyrs day on 13th of July. It is the day when Kashmiri youth was martyred in a quick succession, while completing Azan (the Muslims call for prayer) by Dogra Raj in 1931. The Ramban massacre can yet again be taken as the start of another agitation in Kashmir. India on the other hand is fearing a 90s like situation, when an armed guerrilla warfare was started against the Indian occupied forces. Despite of the fact, that Kashmiris are trying to raise their voice in non-violent manners, Indians are maintaining a heavy counter insurgency force there. Kashmiris feel that their state under Indian occupation has turned into a police state of worst nature. India also suspended internet services in Kashmir, so that social media activists may not spread the news on social media forums and reach out to the world about this recent brutality of Indian occupied forces.
However, some updates from the social media activists can also be noted on Kashmiri handlers.
@TheKashmiris It’s a fact that a mob attacked our camp,we can’t rule out presence of anti-social elements in the mob:#BSF HENCE WE KILLED THEM ALL
@Ibnebattuta Same India sends troops for UN peacekeeping missions, that sends troops to Kashmir to kill innocents. Haathi ke daant khane ke aur …..
@Salman_Nizami The BSF personnel picked up Quran and ripped them off and threw them under their feet says witness. #Gool Incident
@NoutankiBaaz My friend from Banihal, now based in Jammu says the toll has reached 11, 16 critical, & more than 70 injured. @Aalaw_
Name of Martyrs[note color=”#ddd6d5″]Names of innocents martyred in Kashmir today: The six persons who were killed have been identified as Farooq Ahmad, son of Ghulam Ahmad of Salballa Gool, Javid Ahmad (a 4th class student), son of Abdul Salam of Goie Dharam Gool, Muhammad Latif, son of Abdul Rashid of Jamlan Dharm and Manzoor Ahmad Shan (a lecturer of Higher Secondary School), son of Abdur Rahman of Gool, Mohammad Amin and Nissar Ahmad.
Witness said that while people were protesting; a Sub Inspector of Police Station Sangal Dam, Muhammad Afzal Wani opened indiscriminate firing on them, killing four of them on spot.[/note]