Deaths as Indian troops open fire on Kashmir protesters

There were scenes of mayhem in parts of southern Indian-administered Kashmir after Indian forces opened fire on thousands of protesters, killing at least 19 civilians and wounding scores of others during a mass funeral for a slain rebel fighter.

Police said a man was killed on Sunday as hundreds of people clashed with troops in southern Pulwama town, while six civilians who had been injured after Indian troops fired on rock-throwing protesters on Saturday died overnight. Eight protesters were killed on Saturday.

Tens of thousands of people defied a curfew in parts of Kashmir on Saturday to pay homage to Burhan Wani, the rebel fighter and so-called poster boy of the new Kashmiri resistance, resulting in clashes with police and paramilitary.

Wani was shot dead along with two other fighters by security forces and police in Bumdoora village on Friday, 85kilometres south of Srinagar, prompting mass mourning across the valley.

According to officials, as news of the killing spread across the valley on Saturday, clashes erupted in several districts in southern Kashmir as thousands of residents hurled rocks at Indian troops, who responded by using live ammunition, pellet guns and tear gas.

Street clashes also spread to Srinagar, the capital of the Indian-administered Kashmir, as thousands tried to vent their anger on the streets.

Shams Irfan, a local journalist who traveled to Tral, where authorities had cut electricity, blocked roads and the internet as part of the wider crackdown on protesters, told Al Jazeera that the demonstrations in southern Kashmir were “the biggest he had ever seen”.

Earlier, thousands of armed police and paramilitary soldiers in riot gear fanned out across most towns and villages. They laid razor wire and erected steel barricades on the streets and drove through neighbourhoods, warning residents to stay indoors.

Wani, in his early 20s, had become the iconic face of Kashmiri resistance over the last five years.

As the son of a school principal, he is widely credited for reviving armed resistance in Kashmir, using social media like Facebook to reach out to young Kashmiri men.

Inspector-General Syed Javaid Mujtaba Gillani described his killing as the “biggest success against militants” in recent years.