Pakistan

SRINAGAR – Indian forces killed a teenage boy in Baramulla district after firing shots at protesters demanding freedom from Indian rule in the Occupied Kashmir.

Waseem Ahmad, 19, was working in his orchard in the northwestern Sopore area along with other people when soldiers fired, Aljazeera reported on Saturday.

The Valley has been caught in violent clashes between civilians and security forces after freedom fighter Burhan Wani was gunned down by Indian army in July. Since then, Kashmir has been under curfew – the longest continuous lockdown yet – entering day 78 on Saturday.

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“Waseem was going along with a few boys toward his paddy fields to help his uncle when four army vehicles drove up and soldiers opened fire on him,” said Ahmad’s cousin, Abdul Rasheed Lone.

“There was no protest or stone pelting. Everything was quiet. He was killed without a reason. It was a cold-blooded murder.”

A local doctor told the Greater Kashmir newspaper that a round went through Ahmad’s back and hit his heart. “The bullet had damaged his heart and caused instant death,” said Dr Masood of District Hospital Baramulla in north Kashmir.

The teenager’s death led to strong protests and clashes with government forces, with the Kashmiri people chanting “we want freedom”.

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Clashes also broke out in Budgam district’s Chrar-e-Sharif town and at Anantnag’s Kokernag, where scores of people were reportedly injured.

A strict curfew has been imposed on Old Srinagar and south Kashmir.

With Lone, the death toll from the violence crossed over 100, while hundreds have been injured and maimed by pellet shots.

Friction between locals and security forces stems from the day India occupied the valley after 1947 Partition, but the struggle has now turned into independence movement that gained momentum after Wani’s death.

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Due to the curfew imposed by Indian government, all educational institutions, main markets, public transport and other businesses remained suspended.

Yesterday, the Indian occupation forces also blocked worshippers from Friday prayers at large mosques for the 11th consecutive week.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the two countries gained independence from British rule in 1947. Both claim the territory in its entirety.

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Kashmiri people have for decades fought Indian soldiers – currently numbering about 500,000 – demanding independence for the region or its merger with Pakistan. Tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, have died in the fighting.

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Meanwhile, tensions continue to rise between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir issue following the Uri attack in the Indian-administered Kashmir that left 17 Indian soldiers dead.

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Denying all the Indian allegations of ‘orchestrating’ the attack, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has labeled India’s handling of the uprising in Kashmir as “barbarism” at the UN General Assembly in New York last week.

The Pakistani premier also called for called for an independent inquiry and a UN fact-finding mission into “rights violations” in Kashmir as well as for renewed talks with India.