Three civilians were killed after Indian forces opened fire on protesters in the latest instance of violence in the south of Indian-administered Kashmir, where a movement for self-determination has intensified over the last few years.
The army had entered Redwani village in the south of the state to conduct a search operation for suspected militants who have taken up arms against the Indian rule in the Kashmir valley. Witnesses said the troops began to beat up people. Angered, residents gathered in the streets, some pelting stones at the soldiers.
In response, the army fired into the gathered crowd. Among the killed was a teenage girl, who has been identified as Andleeb Jan. The other deceased were Shakir Ahmad Khanday, 22, and Irshad Ahmad, 20.
Journalist Umar Meraj posted a video of the funeral of those killed:
Three other civilians were injured in the firing and were rushed to a local hospital where they are undergoing treatment.
After the killings, protests erupted in the area. Leaders of the resistance movement to Indian rule also called for protests against the detention of separatist leader Asiya Andrabi by the Indian investigation agency, National Investigation Agency (NIA). Authorities accuse her of waging war against the country and delivering hate speeches.
Read more: The Kashmiri People Versus the Indian State
Kashmir has seen renewed unrest since July 8, 2016, when Burhan Muzaffar Wani, the commander of a separatist militant group, was killed by Indian security forces in a counterinsurgency operation.
Wani was popular on social media, and had been featured three years earlier in an article by the UK’s The Guardian newspaper alongside several young boys who were picking up weapons against Indian rule in the conflict-torn state.
The years since his death have seen dozens and dozens of civilians killed; online news portal The Kashmir Walla has compiled a list of all civilians slain in the state of Jammu and Kashmir since 2015.
Human rights groups say security forces have committed grave abuses in their attempt to quash the insurgency, including killings, abductions and torture, all largely with impunity.