Four protesters were killed in India’s northern Jammu and Kashmir state on Sunday, police said, raising the death toll in violence sparked by the death of a separatist militant to more than 20 since Friday.
In addition to the protesters who were killed, a policeman died when protesters pushed the vehicle he had been driving into the Jhelum River, the police said in a statement on Sunday.
The demonstrations began Saturday after security forces killed Burhan Muzaffar Wani, a young commander for the Hizbul Mujahedeen, a Kashmiri rebel group, on Friday evening. Mr. Wani had become a prominent face of separatist sentiment in the Kashmir valley, an area at the center of an independence movement that has waned since its peak in the 1990s, at the height of an insurgency, but that has never completely disappeared.
The police statement said protesters throughout the valley had attacked police stations, police cars, a fire truck and a railway station, setting fire to security vehicles and government property.
Hospitals in Kashmir received more than 400 injured, said Dr. Adil Ashraf of the Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital in Srinagar. He said his hospital alone had received more than 130 wounded people in the past two days, most with pellet and bullet injuries. Dr. Ashraf, whose hospital receives information about casualties from all government hospitals in the valley, said 22 people had died in the violence in the past two days.
The local government has appealed to the public and separatist political leaders to help calm the situation.