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India-controlled Kashmir seethes as curfew extends to seventh day

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Fearing further protest, the government has detained more than 100 political activists, including all those identified as separatist leaders. Three persons died during protests over the hanging, including a teenage boy killed when Indian security forces fired at protesters near Guru’s village.

Two leading Kashmiri separatists, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, in New Delhi at the time of Guru’s hanging, were detained and their phones confiscated by authorities.

“The Indian state in Kashmir has dropped its mask. I am waiting for a call for a protest march and I am going to go out and join it,” said Siddiq Wahid, a historian and former vice-chancellor of the Islamic University of Science and Technology here. “I fear this can take the situation back to collective confrontation.”

Severe media restrictions

Amid severe restrictions on the media – newspapers could not publish for four days – mobile Internet services were withdrawn without notice and cable TV pulled off indefinitely, prompting many Kashmiri people to feel pushed to the wall without avenues to express themselves. A Kashmiri lawmaker in the region was also detained after he tried to lead a protest demonstration against the hanging.

“No Kashmiri leader is able to do anything. I am helpless and personally want to quit this dirty [pro-India] politics,” the lawmaker, Abdul Rasheed, said over the phone from a police barracks where he is being kept under detention. “I will go to my supporters and explain myself as soon as I am released.”

The anger and hurt is so deep that many who had started veering toward a politics of reconciliation have begun to change course.

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