Kashmiri people watch the funeral procession of slain militant Zahoor Ahmad Thoker from a window at Sirnoo in Pulwama, Kashmir, Dec. 15, 2018. EPA-EFE/FAROOQ KHAN
Srinagar (India), Dec 15 (efe-epa).- At least seven civilians were killed in the restive Indian region of Kashmir on Saturday after security forces opened fire on a group of protesters allegedly trying to protect a group of rebels from a shootout.
A local hospital confirmed the civilian deaths to EFE just after the clashes, in which a number of people were injured.
“Seven dead. There is no explanation for this excessive use of force, none whatsoever,” the former Kashmiri governor, Omar Abdullah, wrote on Twitter. “This is a massacre and that’s the only way to describe it.”
The confrontation took place in Pulwama, south Kashmir, as Indian soldiers fired on a crowd of demonstrators that had gathered near the scene of an earlier shootout between military agents and insurgents, police told EFE.
Three alleged insurgents and one Indian army soldier have also died.
Local sources speaking to EFE said the military forces used live ammunition on the crowd.
The events have sparked protests in Srinagar, the summer capital of the region.
Located at the foothills of the Himalayas, Kashmir is the only Muslim-majority region in India. Both India and neighboring Pakistan have claimed full sovereignty over the region since the subcontinent’s partition and independence from British rule in 1947.
Since then, the two nations have waged two wars and several conflicts over the territory that is separated by a provisional border, making it one of the most militarized regions in the world.