The clashes began after popular militant commander Burhan Wani was killed by security forces
The clashes began after popular militant commander Burhan Wani was killed by security forces

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — Police in Kashmir say at least 30 people have been killed in clashes between protestors and security forces after the shooting of a well-known militant leader, with additional deaths being reported Monday after a weekend of violence left 23 dead, including a police officer.

The violence equates to the greatest the region has seen in years, roughly 800 extra officers have been sent to the area to restore order.

More than 200 other people have been injured in the clashes, which saw government forces fire live rounds and tear gas in an effort to disburse of the crowds. A curfew has been ordered across much of the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley after a police substation was set ablaze and a military airbase was targeted during the latest clashes.

The disputed region is claimed in its entirety by both India and Pakistan and has been a hotbed of controversy and violence for more than 60 years, sparking wars between the two countries.

Within the Muslim-majority territory, some militant groups have armed themselves to fight for independence from Indian rule or a merger with Pakistan. The last series of inflated violence came in 2010, when more than 100 people died in anti-India protests, which broke out after police shot and killed a teenager.

Burhan Wani, 22, died in a gunfight with the Indian army on Friday. Wani is largely credited with reviving the image of militancy in Kashmir. Born to a highly educated upper-class Kashmiri family, Wani is believed to have been driven to militancy at the ripe age of 15, when he and his brother were reportedly beaten up by police “for no reason.”

Wani was extremely active on social media channels, and unlike many of the militants in the past, did not seek to hide his identity.

His video messages, which would often go viral in Kashmir after they were posted, spoke on the topics of Indian injustice and the desire for young people to stand up against their oppression. Indian officials have said that he was instrumental in persuading local boys to take up arms.

Thousands attended Wani's funeral which was held in his hometown of Tral
Thousands attended Wani’s funeral which was held in his hometown of Tral

Thousands attended Wani’s funeral on Saturday, which was held in his hometown of Tral, about 25 miles south of Srinagar.

After the services concluded, multiple police stations and military installations were attacked in the violent clashes. Several buildings were burned down, police said.

The majority of those killed over the weekend in the wake of the violence are believed to have been protestors, officials have said. The policeman was killed after his car into a river in the Jhelum area on Sunday. However, police say the vehicle was pushed in by the assembled crowds, while other reports have said it was driven into the river after the driver lost control in an attempt to avoid stone-throwing mobs.

Four of the region’s top separatists leaders released a joint statement in which they called on India’s government to “abandon the policy of stopping people’s marches by bullets.”

A popular Hindu religious pilgrimage to the Amarnath temple shrine has been ordered suspended in the aftermath of the violence, a journey which has stranded some 15,000 devotees in the neighboring region of Jammu. More than 2,000 devotees who were on the way back from the temple have been airlifted out of Kashmir, according to police officials.