Shutdown continues in Indian Kashmir for 96th day

Updated: 00:00 GMT, Jan 1, 1970 | Published: 11:41 GMT, Oct 12, 2016 |

Normal life continued to be crippled for 96th day straight in India’s Kashmir on Wednesday (October 12) amid a shutdown call given by separatists against the killing of an insurgent.

Kashmir has been witnessing one of its worst periods of unrest following the killing of a field commander of separatist group Hizbul Mujahideen, Burhan Wani, by security forces on July 08.

The separatists, who accuse the Indian security forces of using excessive force, have repeatedly extended their shutdown call, keeping life in Kashmir Valley paralysed.

The current shutdown programme is scheduled to last till October 13. Markets, schools, colleges and offices remained shut and people stayed indoors in Srinagar – Summer capital of northern Jammu and Kashmir state.

More than 80 civilians have been killed and thousands wounded in over three months of protests.

Security has also been stepped up amid repeated militant attacks on several Indian army bases and exchanges of fire across the border between Indian and Pakistani soldiers.

Nuclear-armed neighbors India and Pakistan have been at odds over Kashmir ever since their independence nearly 70 years ago, fighting two of their three wars over the Himalayan region that they each rule in part but claim in full.

Tension between the nuclear-armed neighbours escalated sharply when India on September 29 announced launch of surgical strikes against suspected militants trying to infiltrate from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Islamabad denied such a strike had taken place but vowed to retaliate against any Indian aggression.

The raid by Indian military was a direct response to a militant attack on an army camp in Uri sector that killed 19 soldiers, the deadliest toll in nearly two decades.

India said the attackers had come from Pakistan but Islamabad demanded credible proof.