Police, protesters clash in Kashmir over mosque
27 April 2007
Srinagar: Three policemen and four news photographers were hurt in Kashmir on Friday when police fired teargas at Muslims protesting over damage to a local mosque, witnesses said. The trouble started after a fort, inside which the 199-year-old mosque is located, was opened to visitors for the first time in 17 years after Indian troops stationed there vacated it last week. Locals said they found the mosque badly damaged and launched protests on Friday saying it had been demolished. But authorities denied the charge. 'The mosque was in a dilapidated condition for long,' said Khursheed Ahmad Qadri, the head of Kashmir's archaeology and archives department. 'We have now begun restoration work and hope to restore the structure soon.' The fort, called Hari Parbat, was built by Afghan rulers in 1808 on a hilltop overlooking Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian Kashmir. It was taken over by Indian troops in 1989 when the revolt against New Delhi's rule began in the Muslim-majority state.