SRINAGAR, Jammu Kashmir, India (AA): The Jammu Kashmir region witnessed a complete shutdown Wednesday, a day after three civilians, including a 70-year-old woman, were killed by the Indian army.
Hundreds of people defied a government-imposed curfew and staged protests across the region.
The three civilians were killed on Tuesday after the Indian army opened fire on hundreds of demonstrators who were protesting the alleged molestation of a school girl by an Indian soldier in the Jammu Kashmir town of Handwara.
“[The Indian] army deeply regrets the unfortunate loss of life,” Indian army spokesman NN Joshi told Anadolu Agency. “[The] matter will be investigated.”
Members of the Indian army in Kashmir, however, are covered by impunity laws that shield them from prosecution.
Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full.
The two countries have fought three wars — in 1948, 1965 and 1971 — since they were partitioned in 1947, two of which were fought over Kashmir.
Since 1989, groups in Jammu Kashmir have been fighting for independence from India or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.
More than 70,000 Kashmiris have been killed so far in the violence, most of them by Indian forces. India maintains over half a million soldiers in Jammu Kashmir.
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