Nine die as Kashmir gets bloodier

Nine people died in Indian-administered Kashmir after separatist demonstrators were detained as they tried to lead a rally protesting against civilian deaths.

    Protesters flee fearing fatal consequences of demonstration

    All Kashmiris, eight were killed in numerous shootouts on Monday as the Himalayan province witnessed a surge in police and separatist clashes.
      
    Indian police blamed the ninth death on suspected insurgents after civilian Muhammad Amin was shot dead in the central town of Tral.

    The reason for Amin's shooting was not immediately clear. 
       

    But violence broke out after thousands of residents took to the streets on Sunday in the northern town of Bandipora to protest against the deaths of five civilians. 
      
    Accidental shooting?

    The protesters accused Indian forces of using the five as human shields. The army acknowledged the civilians' deaths but said they were hired porters caught in the crossfire.
      
    Police prevented further demonstrations on Monday, detaining 20 separatist activists who planned to lead anti-Indian government marches.
      
    Among the people taken into custody were Sayyid Ali Jilani, who leads a vocal breakaway faction of the main separatist alliance. 
      
    Bloody week

    Nearly 70 people have died since Thursday.

    Indian forces say they are stepping up operations this month, in an effort to tighten their grip on the region before snow melts and mountain passes open.
      
    Violence had eased in Kashmir since India and Pakistan reached a 26 November ceasefire on their borders.

    Both countries contest the current status quo of the province.
      
    More than 40,000 people have died in the insurgency since 1989, according to official Indian figures. Separatists put the toll between 80,000 and 100,000. 

    SOURCE: Reuters


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