Indian police enforce curfew in Kashmir town

Warning shots fired in Kishtwar amid rising tensions between two religious groups in troubled region.

    Trouble broke out after Hindus objected to a demonstration by hundreds of Muslims [AFP]
    Trouble broke out after Hindus objected to a demonstration by hundreds of Muslims [AFP]

    Security forces in Indian-administered Kashmir have fired warning shots to enforce a curfew in a town amid fresh clashes between Hindus and Muslims.

    The rival groups burned homes in Paddar, a village about 50km north of the town of Kishtwar, where clashes  left at least two people dead on Friday.

    Police rushed to Paddar on Saturday to control the situtation, a police official said. Troops in armoured vehicles also drove through the streets of Kishtwar to push angry people back into their homes.

    Three people suffered gunshot wounds and were taken to a nearby hospital, the official said.

    Scores of shops, vehicles and two hotels were set on fire by the mobs on Friday. The rioters also looted guns from a private arms shop in the area.

    Police said the violence broke out after several hundred Muslims staged a march and shouted slogans demanding freedom from Indian rule.

    They were then attacked by Hindus who objected to the demonstration, authorities said.

    Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan by a heavily militarised Line of Control. Both countries claim the territory in full.

    More than 68,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Kashmir, where about a dozen separatist groups have been fighting against Indian rule since 1989.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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