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Anti-India protests and clashes have sprung up in the disputed territory since Wednesday. India’s Central Reserve Police Force said the man was driving a car and ignored signals to stop at two checkpoints on the western outskirts of Srinagar, Indian-administered Kashmir’s main city. Soldiers are said to have feared an attack because a military convoy was going through the area at the time.
It said in a statement that a soldier shot the victim “when the car didn’t stop despite warning shots”.
But the man’s father, Ghulam Nabi Shah, has denied the police account.
He said his son did not drive through any checkpoints and was stopped by the soldiers before being shot.
A witness, Firdousa, said the victim stopped his car when soldiers signalled him.
She told Al Jazeera: “A security official told him something to which he replied that he had some emergency.
“They let him go but as he was getting into his vehicle, they shot him in the back.
“He was killed deliberately. He did no wrong.”
As news of his death spread in his village, hundreds of men and women began chanting “Go India, go back” and “We want freedom”.
Indian and Pakistani troops in disputed Kashmir are engaged in their most frequent cross-border fighting of at least two years, official data shows, even as both nuclear-armed rivals battle surging coronavirus outbreaks.
Kashmir has long been a flashpoint between the neighbours but tension was renewed after New Delhi withdrew the autonomy of the Himalayan region last August and split it into federally-administered territories.
Both countries claim the region in full, but rule only parts, and often accuse each other of breaching a 2003 ceasefire pact by shelling and firing across the Line of Control (LoC), an informal border in Kashmir, and of killing dozens every year.
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Indian Army data reviewed by Reuters shows 411 ceasefire violations by Pakistan’s military in March, the highest number in a single month since at least 2018.
That compares with 267 violations in March last year recorded by the Indian Army.
Major-General Babar Iftikhar, of the public relations wing of the Pakistan Army said: “The Pakistan Army never initiates ceasefire violations along LoC.
“But it has always responded befittingly to Indian Army’s unprovoked firing.”
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