Two die in new Kashmir protests

12 September 2008

London: Police in Indian-administered Kashmir say two people people have died during clashes with demonstrators calling for independence from India. They say that protests have been held across the Kashmir valley. A curfew is in force in Shopian town where one person was shot and killed by police. They say another man died when hit by a stray bullet in the town of Baramullah. A separatist leader was injured in Srinagar as police used batons and tear gas to disperse the crowds. Doctors at the district hospital in Shopian say 17 injured have been brought in for treatment. An earlier report that one person died from their wounds in a hospital in Srinagar turned out to be untrue. People say they want 'freedom' from Indian forces The separatist leader injured in Srinagar was Mohammed Yasin Malik. Police say his injuries were only minor. Members of his Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front party say that he has been injured in the thigh and the police acted violently and without provocation in the protests. Friday's protest follows two months of demonstrations throughout the summer which left at least 40 people dead. The BBC's Altaf Hussain in Srinagar says that the anti-India protests have shut down the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley. Our correspondent says that the protests are in response to a call by the Co-ordination Committee which has been spearheading ongoing public protests against Indian rule. The committee comprises separatist groups and trades unions. The demonstrations began after a period of relative quiet in the Kashmir valley. They were initially triggered by a state government decision - later revoked - to dedicate land in the valley to a trust which administers an important Hindu shrine. They eventually developed into large-scale anti-India demonstrations. The decision to drop the land transfer led to counter protests in the Hindu-majority Jammu area of Indian-administered Kashmir.