SRINAGAR: Four protesters and a police officer were killed in India-held Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday, police said, raising the death toll in violence sparked by the death of a separatist militant to 20 since Friday.
Protests erupted after security services on Friday evening shot dead 22-year-old militant leader Burhan Wani. His death came amid a rise in violence and separatist sentiment across the state.
The director general of Jammu and Kashmir Police, K Rajendra Kumar, told reporters that 100 members of the security forces had been wounded and that three were missing.
In addition, “miscreants threw a police vehicle into River Jhelum”, south of the state’s summer capital of Srinagar, killing the officer inside, he said.
On Saturday, police had said that angry crowds set fire to three police stations and two government buildings south of Srinagar, and blocked roads.
Kumar put the protestor death toll at 15, but a second officer, who asked to remain anonymous, said four more died on Sunday in clashes with security forces, raising the total number of deaths to 20.
“It is shocking and painful that Indian armed forces have yet again unleashed terror on the mourners and protesters, resulting in massive civilian casualties,” Khurram Parvez, an activist with rights group the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition for Civil Society, said in a statement.
The local government has appealed to the public and separatist political leaders to help calm the situation.
HM is one of several groups that for decades have been fighting around half a million Indian troops deployed in the region, calling for independence for Kashmir or a merger with Pakistan.
Tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, have died in the fighting since 1989.
Resistance groups opposed to Indian rule of Kashmir have called for three days of mourning and a shutdown in the territory after the rebel commander’s killing.