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Five hurt as security forces fire on Indian Kashmir protest

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SRINAGAR, India – Five people were wounded Tuesday when Indian security forces opened fire on protesters who attacked their vehicles with stones during a demonstration against Indian rule, police said.


An Indian Central Reserve Police Force serviceman stops a motercyclist during a curfew in Srinagar

“Security forces had to open fire to ward off violent protesters who attacked security force vehicles with stones and bricks,” a police officer said, asking not to be named.

The incident took place in southern Pulwama district.

Four more people, including two policemen, were injured in two separate clashes between police and stone-throwing protesters elsewhere in Muslim-majority Kashmir valley, the officer said.

Since a wave of violent anti-India protests began in June, 111 people have been killed by security forces, mostly when they have opened fire on stone-throwing protesters during some of the biggest pro-freedom demonstrations in two decades.

Indian Kashmir has been under rolling curfews and strikes since the protests began on June 11, when a 17-year old student was killed by a police teargas shell in Srinagar.

On Tuesday, a curfew was imposed in parts of Indian Kashmir summer capital Srinagar to pre-empt a separatist march, police said.

In other parts of Srinagar, where a curfew was not in force, a separatist strike closed down shops and businesses.

The fresh violence came as Indian experts trying to defuse tensions in Kashmir have been holding a series of talks, despite opposition by separatists who have been spearheading the recent protests.

Home Minister P. Chidambaram said last week that the government had selected senior journalist Dilip Padgaonkar and professors M.M. Ansari and Radha Kumar to hold talks with separatists and other people in the troubled state.

The team arrived in Indian Kashmir summer capital Srinagar on Saturday.

They have held talks with jailed militants, university students, pro-India politicians, ordinary citizens and the region’s chief minister, Omar Abdullah.

8 more protesters killed in Indian Kashmir

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SRINAGAR, India – Four people were gunned down Sunday by security forces who opened fire on thousands of protesters and another four civilians were killed in a blast at a police station, bringing the death toll from weeks of clashes in increasingly violent Indian Kashmir to 31.


A Kashmiri Muslim protester throws a policeman’s bamboo shield on a burning government vehicle after …

The explosion happened after the police station was set on fire by residents angry at two deaths in Khrew, a town near Srinagar where hundreds had been protesting Indian rule, a top police officer said.

At least four people were killed and dozens of civilians were injured in the blast, the officer said on condition of anonymity as he didn’t want his name to be used.

There were no casualties among the police officers who fled the area as the mob attacked the police station, which also housed a state counterinsurgency police force, the officer said.

A lot of explosive material used in quarry blasting was stored in the police station as the town is known for its cement industry and it might have triggered the blast, he said.

“A deafening blast shook the earth beneath and a flying brick hit my head,” said Mohammed Yousuf, an eyewitness. “We don’t know what happened inside the premises, but outside many were left injured.”

Earlier, demonstrators began hurling stones after government forces tried to prevent them from marching in the town of Pampore, another police officer said.

Government forces opened fire, killing two of the protesters, the officer said.

Another two people were killed and five others injured in firing by government forces in nearby Khrew, where hundreds of people marched through the streets chanting pro-independence slogans, the officer said.

As night fell, thousands of Kashmiri Muslims held protest marches in towns and villages across the region and clashed with government forces, police and local residents said. Many injuries were feared in the violence, police said.

Hundreds of residents of Pampore and nearby villages had joined demonstrations Sunday and set government buildings and vehicles on fire after hearing about the shooting deaths of two people on Saturday, police and witnesses said.

The two were shot dead and five others were wounded after police in two towns opened fire on protesters who had attacked their camps and pelted them with rocks.

The recent tension in the Himalayan region – divided between India and Pakistan and claimed by both – is reminiscent of the late 1980s, when protests against New Delhi’s rule sparked an armed conflict. More than 68,000 people have been killed, mostly civilians.

The mostly Muslim region, where resistance to rule by predominantly Hindu India is strong, has been under a rolling curfew and strikes after anti-India street protests and clashes surged.

The latest cycle of protests against Indian rule in the troubled region has left at least 31 dead – mostly teenagers and young men in their 20s – over the past six weeks.

India and Pakistan have fought two wars over control of Kashmir since 1947. Both claim the region in entirety.

Separatist politicians and militants reject Indian sovereignty over Kashmir and want to carve out a separate homeland or merge with predominantly Muslim Pakistan.