January 2016 News

Clashes Occur At Funeral Of Rebel Commander In Kashmir

12 January 2016
Associated Press

Srinagar: Clashes erupted in Indian-controlled Kashmir on Tuesday as police fired tear gas to stop thousands of people from marching in a funeral procession of a rebel commander killed in a clash with government forces. The militant, Sajad Ahmed Bhat, was killed Monday night on the outskirts of Srinagar, the main city in the disputed Himalayan region, said police Inspector-General Syed Javaid Mujtaba Gillani. Gillani said Bhat was a top rebel commander and had been active in the region for over a decade. Thousands of people chanting slogans against Indian rule assembled in the militant's home village on Tuesday and tried to march on a highway connecting the region with the rest of India while carrying his body for burial. Police fired tear gas to stop the march, triggering clashes as groups of young men hurled rocks at the troops. Witnesses said hundreds of people managed to take a different route to the graveyard and buried Bhat's body. There were no immediate reports of injuries. Thousands of people participate in militant funerals in Kashmir, where sentiment against Indian rule runs deep. Rebels have been fighting since 1989 for Kashmir's independence or merger with Pakistan, which controls another portion of Kashmir to the west. More than 68,000 people have been killed in the uprising and in a subsequent Indian military crackdown. The rebel groups have largely been suppressed by Indian troops in recent years, and resistance is now principally expressed through street protests.