A security personnel stands guard near the site of a gunbattle. AFP
Gulf Today Report
Indian government forces on Wednesday killed the leader of the largest Kashmiri militant group, Riyaz Naikoo fighting for independence.
Riyaz Naikoo, 35, the head of Hizbul Mujahideen in Indian-administered Kashmir, died when soldiers blew up two houses in Beighpora in the valley's south, Kashmir police chief Vijay Kumar said.
His death was confirmed by Indian national government ministers in New Delhi.
Soldiers and counter-insurgency police were conducting house-to-house searches late on Tuesday when they zeroed in on two homes where the top rebel leader was thought to be hiding, triggering an exchange of fire early Wednesday.
Fearing protests and an outbreak of violence as news spread that Naikoo was trapped, authorities on Wednesday cut mobile internet and messaging services in Kashmir.
All private mobile networks except the state-run cell operator were suspended.
Hundreds of locals clashed with police after they were stopped from marching towards his home village.
Fifteen people were injured in the clashes that continued well into the late evening. One of the protesters, who sustained a bullet wound, was taken to hospital, a police said.
A local curfew was imposed in the area.
Two other suspected militants were also killed in a separate shootout on Wednesday not far from Naikoo's home, army spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia said in a brief statement.
Naikoo's death came amid an intensification of counte-rinsurgency efforts by Indian government forces against the rebels in recent months. India has more than 500,000 troops in the region.
Tensions have been high since August after New Delhi scrapped the region's semi-autonomous status and imposed a total security and communication blackout.
Fixed lines, mobiles and internet services were cut before being gradually restored, although 4G mobile data has not been reinstated.
The decision comes at a time of high tension between the two nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours over the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.
At least 12 locals and six troops were injured on Saturday evening, officials told Reuters, as the worshippers on the traditional mourning procession of Muharram clashed with troops trying to stop it.
"I want to give this message to Kashmiris that we stand by you and will continue to do so. It is sad that your independence struggle was presented as terrorism. Kashmir is our jugular vein and we will go to any lengths to protect it."
"Children who do survive this war will not only bear the visible wounds of traumatic injuries, but the invisible ones too," MSF International Secretary General Christopher Lockyear told the 15-member council.
The PML-N has nominated Maryam Nawaz as its candidate for the chief ministership. If elected, then Maryam would become the first-ever female chief minister in the country’s history.
They explained that the noise made by vehicles disturbs public peace and creates a state of panic, tension, and nervousness among other drivers, road users and residents of neighborhoods, especially children, patients and the elderly.