Kashmir: Security clampdown, strike after deadly clashes
Most of India-administered Kashmir remained closed on Monday following violent clashes between separatists and security forces in which some 20 people are feared killed.
A security clampdown and a strike called by separatists fighting against Indian rule paralyzed Kashmir on Monday, a day after deadly protests and fierce fighting killed 16 combatants and four civilians.
Police said hostilities broke out while security forces were conducting anti-militant operations.
Curfew, separatist strike
Armed police and paramilitary soldiers in riot gear fanned out across the region and authorities also imposed a curfew in some towns in southern Kashmir and in the old parts of the disputed region's main city of Srinagar, the urban center of protests and clashes against Indian rule.
In other areas where no restrictions were in place, shops and businesses remained closed for fear of trouble.
Separatist leaders who challenge India's sovereignty over Kashmir called for a shutdown on
Monday to protest the killings.
In an attempt to check the Anti-India protests, government authorities shut schools and colleges, a cancelled university exams, halted train services and cut cellphone internet access in the most restive towns, and reduced connection speeds in other parts of the Kashmir Valley.
At least 13 rebels and three Indian army soldiers were killed in Sunday's fighting in three gun battles in southern Kashmir, where a new generation of rebels have revived militancy and challenged India’s rule with guns and effective use of social media.
International rights groups have repeatedly condemned the Indian crackdown and called on it to stop using shotgun pellets against protesters armed only with stones.
On Monday, the Indian chapter of rights group Amnesty International tweeted that Indian "security forces must refrain from using excessive force against protesters in Kashmir. Internet shutdowns must not be blanket or indefinite."
Kashmir has been divided between Pakistan and India, and since their partition and independence from Britain in 1947, the region has been a source of conflict between them. Besides cross-border tensions, India’s majority-Muslim Kashmir Valley has been embroiled in a violent secessionist movement since 1989. Rebels are demanding the region be made part of Pakistan or become an independent country. India accuses Pakistan of arming and training the rebels, a charge Pakistan denies.
Nearly 70,000 people have been killed in the uprising and the ensuing Indian military crackdown.