Protesters try to storm military airbase
Hundreds of protesters tried to storm a military airbase in Indian Kashmir yesterday, the third day of deadly clashes between government forces and demonstrators angered by the killing of a popular young rebel.
Police said 30 people had now died in the violence, most of them protesters killed by gunshot wounds as government forces fired live ammunition and tear gas to try to enforce a curfew imposed across the Kashmir Valley.
Thousands again defied the curfew to take to the streets yesterday. Police said several hundred protesters tried to storm an Indian Airforce base about 25 kilometres (15 miles) south of the capital Srinagar as the worst civilian unrest since 2010 spread.
"A few hundred protesters stormed the airforce base," said a senior officer on condition of anonymity.
"We do not know if firearms were used, but the protesters were pushed back," he said, adding there were no immediate reports of casualties.
Protesters also set police stations and vehicles on fire. On Sunday one police officer drowned when his armoured vehicle was pushed into a river.
The demonstrations follow the killing on Friday of Burhan Wani, a 22-year-old commander of Kashmir's largest militant group Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), during a gun battle with government forces.
HM is one of several homegrown militant groups that have for decades been fighting around half a million Indian troops deployed in the region, calling for independence or a merger with Pakistan.
Around 300 people have been injured, including nearly 100 police, and hospitals say they are overwhelmed.
There were also reports of injured protesters being targeted -- one local doctors' association said Sunday that tear gas canisters had been fired inside a hospital emergency room.