Kashmiris block highway after Indian army martyrs two labourers

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Protesters burned tyres and pelted military base with stones

Hundreds of protesters blocked a section of the main highway that runs through Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) on Friday over the martyrdom of two men who worked as labourers at an Indian army base, a police official and residents said.

Residents said the men were shot dead earlier on Friday by army guards at the entrance of the base in Rajouri, 150 km (95 miles) south of Srinagar.

The Indian military claimed the two men were martyred by “militants” outside the military hospital in Rajouri.

Protesters burned tyres and pelted the military base with stones hours after the shooting, said the police official, who declined to be named as he was not authorised to speak to the media. Another man was also injured.

The mainly Muslim Himalayan region of Kashmir is claimed in full by both India and rival Pakistan, although both nuclear-armed neighbours only control parts of the region.

In 2019, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government split IIOJK into two federally administered territories, a widely unpopular decision which has reignited the freedom movement in the occupied valley.—KMS