Protesters and police clash in Kashmir

Hundreds take to the streets as tension rises over the continued arrest of youths in Indian- administered Kashmir.

     Srinagar experienced a total shut down on Friday as tension permeated across the valley [Showkat Shafi]

    Violence has resurfaced in the India's strife-ridden Kashmir region after hundreds of protestors clashed with police officials to protest against the recent string of arrests of local youth.

    Tension prevailed in the Srinagar city of northern Jammu and Kashmir state on Friday, as groups of agitating youths took to the streets and fought with security personnel, bringing life to a virtual standstill.

    The spiral of violence began after 17-year-old Sahil Khan sustained injuries during clashes between protesters and security forces in the city earlier in the day.

    Soon after Friday midday prayers, groups of locals pelted stones at security personnel and shouted slogans to vent their ire against the perceived hounding of youths by the police in the restive state.

    State authorities immediately deployed a massive contingent of the Central Reserve Police Force to tackle the protesters.

    According to some media reports, police also used batons and tear gas shells to disperse the demonstrators, but met with little success.

    Memories of 2010

    Kashmir has been at the core of India and Pakistan's acrimonious relationship over the past six decades with the nuclear-armed neighbours having fought two of their three wars since 1947 over the disputed territory, which is claimed by both in full, but ruled in parts. 

    Click for more coverage on Kashmir

    A wave of protests rocked the valley last year, when hundreds of stone-pelting youths filled town squares to protest against the death of a 17-year-old boy who was hit a police tear-gas shell.

    More than 110 people were killed when security forces fired at demonstrators.

    Much of the region was shut for weeks on end in strikes called by separatists who want to form a separate country or merge with predominantly Muslim Pakistan.

    On Wednesday, the national parliament was told that almost 40,000 people have been killed in violence over the status of the region since 1989.

    The official police count in the state suggests that more than 47,000 have died, while Kashmiri civil society and human rights groups allege that the number of deaths is closer to 70,000. 

    Violence has sharply declined in the Himalayan region since India and Pakistan started a peace process in 2004.

    However, human rights groups like Amnesty International consistently argue that special laws give impunity to Indian armed forces in Kashmir

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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