At least 500 incidents of protest have broken out in Indian occupied Kashmir since New Delhi stripped the region of its autonomy and imposed a military clampdown more than three weeks ago, according to a senior government official.
under a strict lockdown, Movements are restricted in the region and phone and internet services have been cut. Police have been using pallet guns and tear gas to disperse crowds of protesters in the main city of Srinagar.
A senior government official told AFP news agency on Wednesday that at least 500 protests and incidents of stone-throwing have occurred since August 5, with more than half taking place in Srinagar.
He added “The number of protests could be much higher and bigger without the blockade in force, anger and public defiance is constantly rising”.
Nearly 100 civilians have been injured so far, with a further 300 police and more than 100 paramilitary troopers hurt, the official added.
At least 4,000 people have been detained across the valley, security and government sources told AFP last week, including businessmen, academics, activists and local politicians, with a few released since then.
Another senior government official told AFP that at least 1,350 protesters – described by the police as “stone-pelters” – have been arrested since August 5.
Meanwhile, residents are refusing to resume their normal lives in an act of defiance, an AFP reporter in Srinagar said.
The detentions came as the Supreme Court on Wednesday gave the government one week to respond to a legal challenge calling for the communications blackout to be ended to allow for media reporting.
The court also said several petitions challenging the removal of the constitutional clause on occupied Kashmir’s autonomy would be heard in October.