Gunmen kill 5 labourers in Kashmir - GulfToday

Gunmen kill 5 labourers in Kashmir


A protesting Kashmiri girl throws stones at policemen in Srinagar. Associated Press

Police say gunmen have shot and killed five Indian labourers working in disputed Kashmir.

Top police officer Muneer Ahmed Khan said late Tuesday gunmen also shot and critically injured one labourer near southern Kulgam town.

Another police officer said a group of gunmen came to a building housing the labourers and shot and critically wounded one. He said the gunmen later abducted five labourers and shot them dead after taking them to some distance.

The officer speaking on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the media said the injured labourers was taken to a hospital in critical condition.

In recent weeks, a least 10 non-local labourers and truck drivers have been killed by gunmen in separate incidents.

Police have blamed militants for the killings.

European Union lawmakers on Tuesday began the first visit by a foreign delegation to Indian Kashmir since New Delhi revoked the region’s autonomy in August, and stone-throwing protests resumed after a weeks-long lull, officials said.

Local residents voiced anger that the federal government was trying to show the delegation Kashmir was returning to normal, even as most mobile phone and Internet connections remain severed and daily life disrupted by a security clampdown.

Two officials, one from the government and the other from the police and both declining to be named, said demonstrations began anew in around 40 different locations in the Himalayan territory, including the main city of Srinagar.

The demonstration in Srinagar started hours before the EU delegation’s arrival and continued through the day, prompting security forces to fire tear gas, the police official and Reuters witnesses said, despite heavy troop deployment.

At least eight protesters were treated at Srinagar’s main SMHS hospital for injuries. Many streets remained strewn with stones and shops were closed as the 23 EU lawmakers arrived in Srinagar shortly after midday.

Protesters also pelted security forces with stones in at least six other towns in Kashmir, the police official said.

“This is the worst situation we have seen in the last one-and-a-half months,” he said.

Indian officials say the situation in Kashmir is returning to normal and hope the EU visit will help counter international condemnation of the government’s handling of the situation.


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