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Central & South Asia
Police fire on Kashmir protesters
At least one dead as protest over earlier death of demonstrator turns violent.
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2010 03:51 GMT
The protesters raised slogans like "Indian
forces leave Kashmir" [AFP]

At least one person has been killed and tens of others injured after clashes between Indian security forces and hundreds of demonstrators in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Paramilitary police fired on the demonstrators who tried to torch a paramilitary bunker on Sunday, police said. More were injured in subsequent clashes.

Hundreds of people took to the streets of Srinagar, the summer capital of India's Jammu and Kashmir state, in an angry protest against the death of a 25-year-old who protesters alleged had died after being beaten by soldiers in a demonstration on June 12.

The protesters threw rocks at security forces and surrounded an armoured vehicle belonging to paramilitary soldiers.

Prabhakar Tripathi, a spokesman for the Central Reserve Police Force, said: "We exercised maximum restraint. Our soldiers opened fire only in self-defence after the protesters tried to torch the bunker."

Bad timing

Al Jazeera's Prerna Suri reporting from Srinigar, said: "The violence couldn’t have come at a more worse time for the people of Kashmir. It's peak tourist season and families live entirely on tourism. They say if violence spreads, the only ones to suffer will be them."

The demonstration swelled after the shots were fired, when hundreds more people poured into the streets, chanting "We want freedom" and "Indian forces leave Kashmir".

Anti-India sentiment runs deep in Muslim-majority Kashmir.

Opposition groups have been fighting since 1989 for the Himalayan region's independence from India or its merger with neighbouring Pakistan.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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