Kashmir protests continue

Unrest over government plans to allot land to Hindu body continues for sixth day.

    The violent protests have
    paralysed Srinagar [AFP]

    Land transfer

     

    Protests started when the local government decided to transfer 99 acres of land to a trust running a popular Hindu shrine. The plan was to build accommodation for thousands of Indian Hindu pilgrims who visit the shrine every year.

     

    On Friday, tens of thousands of people poured onto the streets of Srinagar in one of the biggest protests in almost two decades.

     

    Protesters believe the Indian government wants to increase the number of Hindu settlements in Kashmir, India’s only Muslim majority state, which could change the demographic balance of the region.

     

    Yusuf Khan, a protester, told Al Jazeera: "We believe that India should leave immediately. Otherwise, the youth will come back on the street with guns."

     

    Ghulam Nabi Azad, the Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, has promised that no construction will take place on the land until further notice.

     

    The Himalayan region of Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan and claimed by both.

     

    More than a dozen separatist groups have been fighting since 1989 for Jammu and Kashmir's independence from India or its merger with Pakistan. At least 50,000 people have been killed in the struggle so far.

     

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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