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Doctors Say Indian Troops Blocked Care For Injured Kashmiri Protesters

Pakistani Army Lt. General Zafar Iqbal Malik visits a victim of cross-border Indian firing, near the Line of Control, the de facto border between Pakistani and Indian administered Kashmirs, 24 November 2016.

Indian security forces in Kashmir blocked medical care for injured protesters by firing on ambulances and holding up emergency vehicles, a health rights group said on December 6.

At least 80 civilians have been killed and more than 10,000 wounded in almost five months of clashes between protesters and security forces, sparked by the killing on July 8 of a leading militant pushing for independence in the divided Himalayan region, which is also claimed by Pakistan.

Physicians for Human Rights said not only did police and paramilitary forces use excessive force during the unrest, they also delayed wounded people seeking medical attention, increasing the likelihood of permanent injuries and deaths.

"Such delays in care are violations of the longstanding protections afforded to medical workers and facilities in times of conflict and civil unrest," said Widney Brown, a director at the New York-based group.

"What's more, the doctors we interviewed said police were present in their hospitals, intimidating patients and monitoring those being admitted."

The report also said security forces harassed medical workers attempting to treat protesters and prevented doctors from reaching the hospitals where they work.

Kashmiri police had no immediate response to the report.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters