Clashes in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir leave three dead and several injured

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At least three people were killed and six others injured when Pakistani security forces opened fire on protesters in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, across the Indian Line of Control. According to a report by the Press Trust of India, the protesters were demonstrating against the high prices of wheat flour and inflated electricity bills when they were killed by paramilitary rangers.

Details of the Incident

The incident occurred when the paramilitary Rangers, called in to maintain law and order, came under attack while moving out of the region. Instead of exiting via Barakot, the area bordering Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the 19-vehicle convoy, including five trucks, chose to exit through Kohala. Upon entering the city through the Western Bypass, the forces encountered resistance from protesters who hurled rocks and stones. In response, the Pakistani forces used teargas and bullets.

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The force used by Pakistani authorities was reportedly so intense that it affected the entire neighborhood, leaving a trail of chaos and destruction.

Three killed and six injured as Pakistani forces clash with protesters in Muzaffarabad, PoK. Protests against high prices evolve into resistance movement.

Three killed and six injured as Pakistani forces clash with protesters in Muzaffarabad, PoK. Protests against high prices evolve into resistance movement.

Government Response and Subsidy Announcement

In response to the escalating situation, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif approved a Pakistani Rs 23 billion subsidy for immediate release to the region on May 13. However, despite the subsidy, the negotiations between the protesters and the regional government ended in a deadlock, failing to pacify the region.

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Growing Resistance Movement

The demonstrations against inflation have evolved into a broader movement of resistance against Pakistani occupation of the legally Indian territories. The chants of ‘Azadi’ (freedom) have spread across Muzaffarabad and Kotli regions in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Meanwhile, across the Line of Control in Indian-administered Kashmir, a significant number of voters turned out on May 13 to exercise their right to vote for the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat. The record voter turnout in Srinagar, over 38 percent, was the highest since 1996.

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The deadly clash in Muzaffarabad underscores the rising tensions and dissatisfaction among the residents of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The failure of the Pakistani government to address the protesters’ grievances effectively has only fueled the calls for freedom and resistance against the occupation. The situation remains volatile as the region grapples with both economic hardships and political unrest.

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