India imposes curfew after clashes leave 20 dead in Kashmir


Security forces gunned down 13 militants, including the killers of Lieutenant Umar Fayaz, in three counter-insurgency operations that began at night and went on till late Sunday afternoon in Anantnag and Shopian disricts of Jammu and Kashmir.

The cordon and search operations in occupied Kashmir's Islamabad and Shopian districts by Indian forces were one of the worst in recent times with at least 12 youth martyred on Sunday, the largest one-day death toll of youth in the occupied valley in recent years.

They later opened fire.

The gunbattles — the deadliest this year in Kashmir — began overnight after government forces raided three southern villages following a tip that rebels were hiding there, police said.

Separatist leaders called for a general strike in protest, even as Indian security forces sought to subdue the unrest by cutting Internet access in some areas and patrolling streets in riot gear.

Vaid said the third encounter was on in Kachdoora area of Shopian where some civilians were trapped.

Three soldiers were killed and at least six police and soldiers were wounded, Vaid said. "At encounter site, anybody can get killed or hurt", he said, adding, "We will tackle the crowd with restraint but won't shy away from taking very strict action".

The Centre on Tuesday said terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir have been resorting to glamorisation of militancy to recruit misguided youths in their outfits.

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The Indian army's chief in Kashmir, Lt. Gen. A.K. Bhatt, warned the militants to give up their arms or they would be "neutralized". Separatists extended their shutdown by one more day. The militants also abducted Muntazir Ahmad Parrey (the son in law of House owner) from there, the spokesman had said. Rebels have been fighting against Indian rule since 1989.

These reports suggested that tourists were injured in stone-pelting in Awantipora, and the Dalgate area in the city of Srinagar. "What later followed was brute force in which scores of civilians who had been protesting against the civilian killing, were hit by pellets and bullets".

During the investigation, the police said, it has come to notice that local militant Mohammad Saleem Parrey has played a major role in the killing of the said "innocent civilian".

Authorities shut schools and colleges and cancelled university exams in an attempt to stop protests by students.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since their partition and independence from Britain in 1947.

Pakistan condemned Sunday's violence and expressed solidarity with Kashmiris. A curfew has been imposed in parts of the state.

Most Kashmiris support the rebels' cause against Indian rule while also participating in civilian street protests against Indian control.