SRINAGAR: Deadly violence flared across India-controlled Kashmir on Tuesday at the start of Eid, with at least two people shot dead by security forces and dozens more wounded, police and medics said.
Authorities imposed a curfew across large parts of the mainly Muslim state on the first day of the Islamic religious festival, barring prayers at the main mosque and prayer ground in the capital Srinagar.
Mobile networks and internet services were severed on the eve of the holiday in a bid to prevent a repeat of the protests that have erupted in the past two months.
In the northern town of Bandipora, an 18-year-old youth died after being hit in the head by a tear gas canister as he joined a protest in defiance of the curfew, a police officer who was not authorised to speak on record told AFP.
Another protester in his early 20s died on his way to hospital from shotgun pellet injuries sustained in the southern town of Shopian as demonstrators clashed with paramilitaries after the morning Eid prayers.
At least four others were wounded in the same clashes, a local police source said.
Around 50 people were also injured when police paramilitaries fired tear gas and pellet guns at protesters gathered on a road near Srinagar airport, according to another unnamed police official.
“There was a protest procession which was intercepted. People were shouting slogans and then there were intense clashes. About 50 people have been injured so far,” the officer told AFP.
Many of the wounded were brought to the city s main hospital which had been largely emptied in anticipation of heavy casualties over Eid, an AFP reporter at the facility said.
More than 80 people have been killed since July 8 when a young militant leader was shot dead by Indian soldiers, making it one of the deadliest bouts of violence in decades.
Both India and neighbouring Pakistan lay claim to the whole of the Himalayan territory, which has been divided between the two since they separated seven decades ago.
The two countries, which are both now nuclear powers, have twice gone to war over the territory and accuse each other of stoking violence.