UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY) – Indian police fired tear gas and pepper spray grenades to disperse thousands of participants in a funeral procession that died on Saturday after being hit by a car for military volunteers in Indian Kashmir.
Participants in the funeral threw stones at the security men in a new round of violence in Srinagar, the main city in the divided province between India and Pakistan.
At least four protesters were wounded, police and witnesses said.
The Inspector-General of Police in Kashmir S. B. “There were some stone-throwing incidents in the city center, but our people exercised restraint and used the least amount of force.”
Caesar Bhatt, 21, died in hospital after being hit on Friday by a volunteer vehicle near the city’s central mosque during a protest against police violence.
A video of the incident was widely shared on social networking sites and a volunteer car shocked demonstrators.
The video showed a number of demonstrators throwing stones at a car heading towards them, then shots of two youths under the car and one of them screaming for help.
Officials said the driver was charged with reckless driving while the two young men were being treated.
“We have taken a strong note of yesterday’s incident and will take strict measures,” said Asz Bez Fayed, director general of Kashmir police.
Authorities shut off telephones and patrolled the streets on Saturday, while separatist groups opposed to Indian rule called for a general strike.
Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the end of British colonialism in 1947, and they both demand the region in full.
India has 500,000 troops deployed in the Kashmir-controlled area where several armed groups are fighting for independence or integration with Pakistan.
India has ordered a 30-day cease-fire on the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in the Muslim-majority region, but that has not stopped violence completely.
Friday’s protests erupted in response to clashes last week between police and demonstrators near the central mosque, injuring 50 people. The worshipers claimed that the police fired tear gas and gunshots inside the mosque.
Last month, a police armored vehicle killed another demonstrator in Srinagar. The police initially denied their relationship to the incident until a videotaped video of the car struck the man.