Strike, lockdown shut Kashmir amid anger over killings
SRINAGAR, India — A security clampdown and a strike sponsored by separatists fighting against Indian rule shut down most of Indian-administered Kashmir on Sunday, a day after chaotic protests and fighting killed seven civilians and four combatants in the disputed region.
Armed police and paramilitary soldiers in riot gear fanned out across the region in anticipation of anti-India clashes. Shops and businesses closed in other areas with no security restrictions.
At least seven civilians were killed and over three dozen injured Saturday when government forces fired at anti-India protesters following a gun battle that left three rebels and a soldier dead.
Residents accused troops of directly spraying gunfire into the crowds and killing at least two civilians, including a teenage student, away from the site of the battle. Police said in a statement that they regretted the killings but that the protesters had come ‘‘dangerously close’’ to the fighting.
Separatists who challenge India’s sovereignty over Kashmir said the killings were part of India’s state policy and called for three days of mourning and a general shutdown in Kashmir.
Authorities stopped train services and cut cellphone internet in Srinagar and other restive towns, and reduced connection speeds in other parts of the Kashmir Valley.