In a military operation on April 1, Indian armed forces killed 13 rebels and four civilians in south Kashmir and injured over 100 unarmed protesters. We visit the families of victims.

Younger brother of Zubair Ahmad Bhat, 19, holding a recent photograph of his brother posing at his orchard.
Younger brother of Zubair Ahmad Bhat, 19, holding a recent photograph of his brother posing at his orchard. (Vikar Syed / TRTWorld)

On the morning of April 1, people in India-administered Kashmir woke up to violence. The Indian security forces gunned down 13 rebels and four civilians, triggering a wave of protests across the disputed region.

Accused of using one of the slain civilians as a human shield, the Indian army claimed that the unarmed civilians were killed for attempting to break the military cordon imposed around the holed up rebels. Local activists, however, say the army shot at unarmed protesters either to kill or disable them. 

Kashmir is one of the oldest post-colonial disputes between India and Pakistan, which has claimed the lives of over 80,000 people in the last two decades.  

Kashmiri photojournalist Vikar Syed visits the families of the recent victims. 

Sandals and shoes outside the house of Mohammad Iqbal Bhat, 27, who was killed by the Indian army on April 1, in south Kashmir.  His family accuses the Indian army of killing Bhat while he was on his way to his in-laws' house, where he was supposed to meet his 11-month-old child.
Sandals and shoes outside the house of Mohammad Iqbal Bhat, 27, who was killed by the Indian army on April 1, in south Kashmir. His family accuses the Indian army of killing Bhat while he was on his way to his in-laws' house, where he was supposed to meet his 11-month-old child. (Vikar Syed / TRTWorld)
Older sister of Mohammad Iqbal Bhat, 27, cries as she sees a picture of her brother on a cell phone.
Older sister of Mohammad Iqbal Bhat, 27, cries as she sees a picture of her brother on a cell phone. (Vikar Syed / TRTWorld)
Bhat's picture is passed around the grieving circle of family members, who are straining themselves for a glimpse.
Bhat's picture is passed around the grieving circle of family members, who are straining themselves for a glimpse. (Vikar Syed / TRTWorld)
An Imam recites verses of Quran for Zubair Ahmad Bhat, 19, another civilian from south Kashmir, who was shot dead by the Indian security forces on April 1, while he was marching toward a military operation against local rebels.
An Imam recites verses of Quran for Zubair Ahmad Bhat, 19, another civilian from south Kashmir, who was shot dead by the Indian security forces on April 1, while he was marching toward a military operation against local rebels. (Vikar Syed / TRTWorld)
Out of love, people touch the feet of Ishfaq Ahmad Malik, a local Kashmiri rebel, who was killed by the Indian army in one of the April 1 shootouts in south Kashmir.
Out of love, people touch the feet of Ishfaq Ahmad Malik, a local Kashmiri rebel, who was killed by the Indian army in one of the April 1 shootouts in south Kashmir. (Vikar Syed / TRTWorld)
Unarmed Kashmiri protesters are often killed or severely injured by the Indian security forces. On April 1, apart from killing 4 protesters,  the Indian armed forces fired shot-gun pellets on protesters, causing severe eye injuries to several dozens of them. Doctors say they will most likely lose their eyesight.
Unarmed Kashmiri protesters are often killed or severely injured by the Indian security forces. On April 1, apart from killing 4 protesters, the Indian armed forces fired shot-gun pellets on protesters, causing severe eye injuries to several dozens of them. Doctors say they will most likely lose their eyesight. (Vikar Syed / TRTWorld)
Locals carrying an injured man, whose eyes were ruptured by pellets fired by Indian security forces in south Kashmir.
Locals carrying an injured man, whose eyes were ruptured by pellets fired by Indian security forces in south Kashmir. (Vikar Syed / TRTWorld)
Woman narrates how the Indian armed forces went on a rampage, breaking doors and windows of the house that belonged to  Mushtaq Ahmad Thoker, 35, of south Kashmir's Shopian district. Thokar is one of the dead civilians. His family says the Indian army dragged him out of his house on the early morning of April 1, and later in the evening they received his corpse.
Woman narrates how the Indian armed forces went on a rampage, breaking doors and windows of the house that belonged to Mushtaq Ahmad Thoker, 35, of south Kashmir's Shopian district. Thokar is one of the dead civilians. His family says the Indian army dragged him out of his house on the early morning of April 1, and later in the evening they received his corpse. (Vikar Syed / TRTWorld)
Thokar's cousin Nazir Ahmad has come to see the grieving family members. His back is touching the bullet-riddled wall of Thokar's house, which came under fire when the Indian armed forces launched its operation against the rebels, who were hiding in one of the adjacent houses.
Thokar's cousin Nazir Ahmad has come to see the grieving family members. His back is touching the bullet-riddled wall of Thokar's house, which came under fire when the Indian armed forces launched its operation against the rebels, who were hiding in one of the adjacent houses. (Vikar Syed / TRTWorld)
Mohammad Yaseen Mir holds the passport-size photo of his 19-year-old son Mehraj-u-din Mir, who was shot dead by the Indian armed forces on April 1, in south Kashmir. Mir had participated in a demonstration that headed toward the site of a gun battle between local rebels and the Indian armed forces.
Mohammad Yaseen Mir holds the passport-size photo of his 19-year-old son Mehraj-u-din Mir, who was shot dead by the Indian armed forces on April 1, in south Kashmir. Mir had participated in a demonstration that headed toward the site of a gun battle between local rebels and the Indian armed forces. (Vikar Syed / TRTWorld)
Mehraj-u-din Mir was the lone breadwinner in his family. He worked in fields and also pursued higher secondary education.
Mehraj-u-din Mir was the lone breadwinner in his family. He worked in fields and also pursued higher secondary education. (Vikar Syed / TRTWorld)
The Indian armed forces destroyed several houses in a bid to kill rebels hiding inside one of the properties.  Locals visit the debris of what used to be the homes of people in south Kashmir.
The Indian armed forces destroyed several houses in a bid to kill rebels hiding inside one of the properties. Locals visit the debris of what used to be the homes of people in south Kashmir. (Vikar Syed / TRTWorld)
Source: TRT World