Strike, lockdown shut Kashmir amid anger over killings

At least seven civilians were killed and nearly two dozens injured when government forces fired at anti-India protesters in disputed Kashmir. (AP)
Updated 16 December 2018
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Strike, lockdown shut Kashmir amid anger over killings

  • Armed police and paramilitary soldiers in riot gear fanned out across the region Sunday and are patrolling streets in anticipation of anti-India protests and clashes
  • Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan but claimed by both in its entirety

SRINAGAR, India: A security clampdown and a strike sponsored by separatists fighting against Indian rule shut most of Indian-administered Kashmir on Sunday, a day after chaotic protests and fighting killed seven civilians and four combatants in the disputed region.
Armed police and paramilitary soldiers in riot gear fanned out across the region in anticipation of anti-India protests and clashes. Shops and businesses closed in other areas with no security restrictions.
At least seven civilians were killed and over three dozen injured Saturday when government forces fired at anti-India protesters following a gunbattle that left three rebels and a soldier dead.
Residents accused troops of directly spraying gunfire into the crowds. Police said in a statement that they regretted the killings but that the protesters had come “dangerously close” to the fighting.
Separatists who challenge India’s sovereignty over Kashmir said the killings were part of India’s state policy and called for three days of mourning and a general shutdown in Kashmir.
Authorities stopped train services and cut cellphone Internet in Srinagar and other restive towns, and reduced connection speeds in other parts of the Kashmir Valley, a common government tactic to prevent anti-India demonstrations from being organized and stop dissemination of protest videos by Kashmiris.
Nuclear-armed India and Pakistan each administer part of Kashmir, but both claim it in its entirety. Rebels have been fighting Indian control since 1989.
The killings of the seven civilians and three rebels angered Kashmiris who deeply resent Indian rule and support rebel cause that the territory be united either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country.
In recent years, mainly young Kashmiris have displayed open solidarity with the rebels and sought to protect them by engaging troops in street clashes during India’s counterinsurgency operations despite repeated warnings from the Indian authorities.
Nearly 70,000 people have been killed in the uprising and the ensuing Indian military crackdown.


Death toll reaches 73 in Mexico fuel pipeline fire horror

Updated 20 January 2019
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Death toll reaches 73 in Mexico fuel pipeline fire horror

  • The explosion of the illegal pipeline in central Mexico killed more than 70 people
  • The new president promised earlier to fight the epidemic of fuel theft

TLAHUELILPAN, Mexico: They were warned to stay away from the geyser of gasoline gushing from the illegally tapped pipeline in central Mexico, but Gerardo Perez says he and his son joined others in bypassing the soldiers. As they neared the spurting fuel he was overcome with foreboding.
Perez recalls telling his son: “Let’s go ... this thing is going to explode.”
And it did, with a fireball that engulfed locals scooping up the spilling gasoline and underscored the dangers of an epidemic of fuel theft from pipelines that Mexico’s new president has vowed to fight.
By Saturday evening the death toll from Friday’s blaze had risen to 73, with another 74 people injured and dozens more were missing. Perez and his son escaped the flames.