Kashmir on a knife edge once again after security forces kill three youths

Kashmir is boiling again. The killing of three young men by security forces in the past ten days has ratcheted up tension and sent hundreds of demonstrators into the streets.

The Indian authorities have responded by deploying thousands of police and paramilitary forces.

Yesterday, the city of Srinagar, capital of the Kashmir valley, was brought to a standstill as separatists called yet another strike to protest against the killing of the young Muslim men. Police have imposed a strict curfew in an effort to halt the demonstrations that have reverberated around the city. The most recent protests date from June 11 when a 17-year-old student was killed by police as they fired at demonstrators during a routine protest in the city.

Some reports have suggested that the teenager, who was not participating in the protests, was killed after being struck by a tear-gas canister while others have suggested post-mortem tests showed he was killed by gunfire. A day after the student's death, paramilitary forces allegedly seriously beat another demonstrator. That man died from his injuries on Saturday and when friends and relatives protested against this latest killing, there was fresh violence and another person was killed and several more injured. The man killed on Sunday, Javid Malla, was said to be a neighbour of the man who was beaten and who died in hospital on Saturday.

The peaks and troughs of violence come and go in Kashmir. Since he came to office last year, the state's youthful chief minister, Omar Abdullah, has been seeking to reduce the violence emanating from the long-running insurgency and even work towards a reduction of the massive number of military personnel stationed in Kashmir. But just as militants continue to launch sporadic attacks on troops, so the security forces seem incapable of not committing incidents that trigger massive controversy; even before the three recent killings, tensions in Kashmir were high following the murder in April of three local men, whom the authorities sought to portray as militants. In truth, there was no evidence to suggest the men were anything other than innocent civilians.

Earlier this month Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited Kashmir and renewed his offer to talk with any separatist groups who renounced violence. Yet campaigners say the authorities are still addressing the issue through military means rather than politically.

"The problem is that if you have a military mind-set then these things are bound to happen. Human rights will be violated because the mindset of the Indian state is military rather than political," said Khurram Parvez, of the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society. "The prime minister came here and said these things but the ground reality is very different. The Indian government needs to engage in a respectful manner with the people of Kashmir."

The insurgency in Kashmir dates from the late 1980s when militants based in Pakistan stepped up cross-border attacks and increased training and support for Kashmiri separatists. Anywhere up to 80,000 people have been killed in subsequent violence and a generation of people has grown up knowing nothing but uncertainty and fear. The level of depression and mental health issues in the Kashmir valley, one of the planet's most heavily militarised areas, is massive. Resentment against India – even among those who do not wish Kashmir to become part of Pakistan, is widespread and keenly felt.

Paramilitaries involved in Sunday's fateful clashes with demonstrators claimed they had used appropriate tactics. They said protesters had tried to set fire to a bunker used by troops and surrounded an armoured vehicle. "We exercised maximum restraint. Our soldiers opened fire only in self-defence after the protesters tried to torch the bunker," said Prabhakar Tripathi, spokesman for the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). "The situation has been brought under control and restrictions on assembly of more than five people have been imposed in some parts of Srinagar."

Yesterday's strike and curfew, which saw shops, offices and markets closed, came as India and Pakistan prepare to hold fresh talks and push forward with dialogue that was frozen in the aftermath of the 2008 attacks in Mumbai. India's most senior diplomat, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, will meet her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir in Islamabad on Thursday. One of the topics that will almost certainly be discussed is Kashmir, over which the two countries have fought on three occasions.

In advance of the talks, India appears to be making reasonably warm noises. One Foreign Ministry source told reporters: "We are not going there in an accusatory mode but in exploratory mode."

Life and Style
life
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
News
Joan Rivers has reportedly been hospitalised after she stopped breathing during surgery
people81-year-old 'stopped breathing' during vocal chord surgery
Life and Style
Chen Mao recovers in BK Hospital, Seoul
health
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Life and Style
One in six drivers cannot identify a single one of the main components found under the bonnet of an average car
motoringOne in six drivers can't carry out basic under-bonnet checks
Environment
environmentCrop pests are 'grave threat to global food security'
News
i100
Voices
Pupils educated at schools like Eton (pictured) are far more likely to succeed in politics and the judiciary, the report found
voices
Arts and Entertainment
Simon Cowell is less than impressed with the Strictly/X Factor scheduling clash
tvSimon Cowell blasts BBC for breaking 'gentlemen's agreement' in scheduling war
Arts and Entertainment
Shady character: Jon Hamm as sports agent JB Bernstein in Million Dollar Arm
filmReview: Jon Hamm finally finds the right role on the big screen in Million Dollar Arm
News
Orson Welles made Citizen Kane at 25, and battled with Hollywood film studios thereafter
people
News
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie reportedly married in secret on Saturday
peopleSpokesperson for couple confirms they tied the knot on Saturday after almost a decade together
Sport
footballAnd Liverpool are happy despite drawing European champions
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Diana from the Great British Bake Off 2014
tvProducers confirm contestant left because of illness
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live
tv
Life and Style
fashion

Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Science Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Calling all science teachers! Ra...

Technology Teacher - Food & Textiles

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Food Tech/Textiles Teacher We ...

Head of Marketing (Online & Offline, Media, Digital, Strategy)

£85000 - £100000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing - Slough, Berkshi...

Humanities Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Humanities, Religious Education ...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone