[Mr. Wani had become a prominent face of separatist sentiment in the Kashmir valley, an area at the center of an independence movement that has waned since its peak in the 1990s, at the height of an insurgency, but that has never completely disappeared.]
By Hari Kumar and Nida Najar
Protesters clashed with the police in
Saturday after security forces killed a separatist militant commander.Credit
Tauseef Mustafa/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
The death toll from two days of violence rose to at least 19 on Sunday, according to a police official in
, the state’s summer capital, who requested anonymity because he
was not authorized to speak with reporters. Srinagar
In addition to the protesters who were killed, a policeman died when protesters pushed the vehicle he had been driving into the
, the police said in a statement on Sunday. Jhelum River
The demonstrations began Saturday after security forces killed Burhan Muzaffar Wani, a young commander for the Hizbul Mujahedeen, a Kashmiri rebel group.
Mr. Wani had become a prominent face of separatist sentiment in the
Kashmir valley, an area at the center of an
independence movement that has waned since its peak in the 1990s, at the height
of an insurgency, but that has never completely disappeared.
and India claim the disputed Pakistan . territory of Kashmir
Security forces have been accused of human rights abuses while struggling to contain the insurgency and its aftermath.
The police statement said protesters throughout the valley had attacked police stations, police cars, a fire truck and a railway station, setting fire to security vehicles and government property. The statement also said individuals the police suspect to be militants either lobbed grenades or fired at security officers in three areas of the valley.
Curfew continued in the entire
on Sunday; mobile internet and train
services were suspended. valley of Kashmir
Kashmir received more than 400 injured, said Dr. Adil
Ashraf of the in Shri
Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital . He said his hospital alone had received
more than 130 wounded people in the past two days, most with pellet and bullet
Dr. Ashraf, whose hospital receives information about casualties from all government hospitals in the valley, said 22 people had died in the violence in the past two days.
Coalition for Civil Society said in a statement on Sunday that police and
security forces had “assaulted the patients and attendants inside the hospitals
and ambulances.” Jammu and
Mr. Wani had become prominent in the valley in part because he was the rare example of a local rebel who had attached his face to his cause. He was active on social media, garnering a following as he posted photographs of himself and his associates in battle fatigues, often carrying arms.
“He was not personally associated with violence so much, but was associated with leadership,” said Syed Ata Hasnain, a retired Indian Army general who spent more than two decades serving in
He said Mr. Wani had “conveyed the message of azadi,” or freedom, a word that
has been a battle cry in Kashmir for decades.
But the scale of the outpouring of anger at the security establishment that
Kashmir witnessed over the weekend could not be
explained by Mr. Wani’s appeal alone, some analysts said.
Gull Mohammad Wani, a professor of political science at the
, said the outpouring of anger could be
blamed on the lack of outreach from the government to the freedom-seeking
elements in the valley, a reticence that he said had been exacerbated by the
government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. University of Kashmir
Mr. Wani lamented that violence in
Kashmir had become “the only means of communicating
with or the rest of the world.” Delhi
“A political response from the government is missing,” said Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami, a lawmaker in
Kashmir for the past two decades.