A teenager in Kashmir was on Wednesday confirmed dead after being injured while protesting India's removal of the region's special status. The future of the region is unclear.
A Kashmir teenager, Asrar Ahmed Khan, has been confirmed dead on Wednesday after being injured in a clash with security forces during a protest. The 18-year-old had been in intensive care in a hospital in Srinagar, the main city of the region, since being seriously harmed after an altercation with security forces on August 6.
"He was reportedly injured with a blunt object in a law and order situation where a violent crowd was indulging in stone pelting," said Dilbag Singh, Director General of Police in Jammu and Kashmir. Singh said the incident was still under investigation and the circumstances which led to his injury were unclear, although some fellow protesters said that Khan was hit by a tear gas canister.
Protests have been ongoing in the Kashmir region since August 5, when Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi announced the removal of the region's special autonomous status. This essentially stripped Indian-controlled Kashmir of its right to frame its own laws and meant that non-residents of the region could buy property there. A communication blackout has now entered its 31st day. As things stand, both India and Pakistan claim the entirety of Kashmir while each only controls a part of the region.
'Seeds of war'
This comes on the same day as India has named Masood Azhar and Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the leaders of two Pakistan-based organisations, as terrorists. Azhar's group claimed responsibility for the February suicide attack in the India-controlled part of Kashmir. This attack has increased tension between India and Pakistan and may have been partly responsible for the Indian government's removal of Kashmir's special status.
Protestors once more take to the street after confirmation of the death of teenager Asrar Ahmed Khan
Pakistan's military spokesman Asif Ghafoor claims that the protests and their ramifications, including the death of Khan, is "sowing seeds of war" between the two countries. Since the protests on August 6, there have been reports of more protests and further losses of life.
Restrictions of movement of people and vehicles in downtown Srinagar, which previously had been eased, have also been reinstated. India's Lieutenant-General K.J.S. Dhillon claimed that Kashmir militants were "attempting infiltration every night" into the India-controlled sections of Kashmir. Despite Pakistan's attempt to seek support in the issue from the US and the UK, India has ruled out any outside involvement.
ed/msh (Reuters, dpa, AP)