4 killed in protests over price hike in Kashmir

Sathia Kumar

Thousands of people have been protesting in Kashmir since last Friday against the increase in flour and fuel prices

Pakistan-occupied Kashmir has been rocked by thousands of protests against the rise in prices of flour, flour, fuel and other daily commodities. At least four people were killed in clashes with law enforcement during the protests. Hundreds more were injured in the violence.

Thousands of people have been protesting in Kashmir since last Friday against the increase in flour and fuel prices. Organizers called off protests on Tuesday, a day after Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif announced 24 billion Pakistani rupees ($86 million) in subsidies.

Shaukat Nawaz Mir is one of the leaders of the protest in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. He said, “The government has accepted all our demands.” He urged the government to provide financial compensation to the families of those killed in the violence.

Since late last week, protests and violence in Kashmir have taken a terrible form. Authorities there have stopped mobile services to control the situation. Schools, public transport and businesses have been closed in Kashmir. Local authorities on Monday deployed members of Pakistan’s paramilitary Rangers in the regional capital Muzaffarabad.

Footage of the protest shows both sides hitting each other with rods. According to local media reports, members of the paramilitary forces fired bullets and tear gas at the protesters.

Kashmiri authorities said a police officer was among the four killed in the ongoing violence. French news agency AFP quoted a doctor at a Pakistani military hospital as saying that of the four people killed in the protests, at least two were killed by direct gunfire.

“(Rangers) should not have opened fire on the protesters,” Muhammad Qasim, a 37-year-old shopkeeper, told AFP. We only demanded our rights. I got shot in return.”

The protest was first called by the Joint Awami Action Committee, a Kashmiri human rights group. The group declared Tuesday a “Black Day” to pay tribute to those killed in the violence by law enforcement agencies.

A semi-autonomous region of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Where the region has its own regional government. Kashmir is also one of the sources of conflict between two hostile neighbors India and Pakistan for more than seven decades.

Both Delhi and Islamabad claim full ownership of the region bordering the Himalayas. So far, India and Pakistan have fought at least twice over the disputed region of Kashmir. Also, a small-scale conflict broke out between the two countries, but it never escalated into a war. Currently, both countries control one region each of Kashmir.

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