Kashmiris defy curfew, police use force

Hundreds of people in Kashmir defied a government imposed curfew to protest police killings on Friday. Security forces in Indian-administered Kashmir have fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters, a day after shooting dead four demonstrators.

Hundreds of people angry at the killings clashed with police in many parts of the disputed territory, defying a government-imposed curfew.

Reports say two protesters and six police officers were injured.

Kashmir, claimed by India and Pakistan, has seen protests and an insurgency against Indian rule since 1989.

Separatist groups called a strike across Jammu and Kashmir as a mark of protest against the violence in Jammu’s Ramban district on Thursday.

Police initially said six people were killed, but later revised these figures.  Some reports said the protest came after forces entered a mosque, with allegations they also beat a cleric.

Angry crowds then gathered outside the Border Security Force (BSF) camp in Ramban. More than 40 people were injured when troops opened fire. Some are in a critical condition.

A BSF official said troops fired only when a violent mob tried to attack the base.

Friday’s curfew was in place in all areas of Srinagar, Budgam, Ganderbal and Bandipora districts, as well as the towns of Shopian, Pulwama, Kulgam, Anantnag, Bijbehara and Sopore, reports said.

A three-day strike in the Muslim-majority Kashmir Valley was also called by the separatists, in protest at the firing.

Shops and businesses were closed and college and university examinations postponed, BBC Urdu’s Riyaz Masroor reported from Srinagar.

India’s Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde called Thursday’s incident “regrettable” and ordered an inquiry.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah also condemned the killings.

“It is highly unacceptable to shoot at unarmed protesters just because they were reportedly protesting [against the] manhandling of an imam [Muslim cleric] of their area,” he said in a statement.

In recent years violence in the region has abated from its peak in the 1990s, but the causes of the Kashmir insurgency are still far from resolved.

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Posted by on July 20, 2013. Filed under Kashmir. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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