Clashes in Kashmir continue despite curfew

Unrest follows public anger over the killing of four villagers in the disputed region by government troops.

    Protesters have clashed with government troops in several parts of Indian-administered Kashmir for the second straight day, defying a curfew imposed to restrain public anger over the killing of four villagers in the disputed region.

    Police officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Saturday that the protesters threw rocks, and that police and paramilitary forces used batons, tear gas and fired warning shots of live ammunition to control the crowds.

    Five protesters and two police officers were injured in the clashes.

    At least 50 people were injured in similar clashes on Friday.

    "Restrictions on the movement of people will be there for at least three days until the strike is over," Ashok Prasad, the director-general of police, told CNS, a local news agency, late on Friday.

    Ongoing unrest

    The unrest follows the fatal shootings by government troops on Thursday of four villagers who were protesting the alleged desecration of the Muslim holy book by border guards in a remote village in the region.

    The protesters accuse the Indian Border Security Force of tearing pages of several copies of the Quran and beating a school caretaker at a religious seminary during a search for fighters Wednesday night.

    The paramilitary force has denied the charges.

    In a rare gesture, Indian-administered Kashmir's council of ministers on Friday condemned the firing and ordered 500,000-rupee ($8,330) compensation payments to the families of the slain demonstrators.

    Indian Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde has also said he regretted the killings and ordered a probe into the decision to open fire.

    Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan, with both countries claiming the region in its entirety.

    Anti-India feelings run deep in Indian-held Kashmir, where about a dozen rebel groups have been fighting against Indian rule since 1989. More than 68,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

    The rebel groups have largely been suppressed by Indian troops in recent years, and resistance is now principally expressed through street protests.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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