SRINAGAR – At least 40 people have been injured in anti-India clashes that erupted in Occupied Kashmir following a gun-battle between pro-freedom fighters and government forces.
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Occupation forces in Srinagar say the gunbattle began Thursday after soldiers and police cordoned off southern Arwani village, and suspected militants hiding there began firing in an attempt to break through the siege.
As the fighting raged, thousands of people from neighboring villages marched to Arwani in an attempt to help the trapped ‘militants’ escape.
People came out in various places in Anantnag and Kulgam districts and shouted pro-Independence slogans and at some places people also clashed with the Indian forces, the Anadolu Agency reported.
Indian forces fired shotgun pellets and tear gas to disperse the rock-throwing protesters. Witnesses said more than three dozen civilians were injured in the clashes.
In July, the killing of 21-year-old Kashmiri freedom fighter Burhan Wani led to a widespread unrest with hundreds of thousands of people taking to the streets to demand independence from Indian rule.
Indian forces killed more than 100 civilians and wounded over 10,000 people according to the figures from the health department. Many of the injured were blinded by the use of metal pellets to disperse crowds and thousands were jailed.
Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full.
The two countries have fought three wars – in 1948, 1965 and 1971 – since they were partitioned in 1947, two of which were fought over Kashmir.
Since 1989, Kashmiri resistance groups in Indian-held Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.
More than 70,000 people have reportedly been killed in the conflict so far, most of them by the Indian Armed forces. India maintains more than half a million troops in the disputed region.