Twenty Injured In Anti-India Protests In Kashmir

19 September 2008
Agence France-Presse

Srinagar: Twenty people were wounded in clashes during fresh protests against Indian rule in Kashmir on Friday, ending a week of calm in the insurgency-hit region, police and residents said. A separatist committee spearheading recent anti-India demonstrations had called on people in the Muslim-majority Kashmir Valley to observe a strike after midday Friday and 'hold peaceful demonstrations against India's rule.' Thousands of Muslims in the summer capital Srinagar took to the streets after attending weekly Friday prayers, chanting 'we want freedom' and 'Go India, go.' In parts of the main city of Srinagar, police fired teargas and rubber bullets at stone-throwing Kashmiri youths. 'During the clashes some 20 people were hurt, including policemen,' said police officer Pervez Ahmed. Two separatist leaders, Mohammed Saleem and Farooq Dar, were also arrested in Srinagar, while hardline separatist Syed Ali Geelani was put back under house arrest, police said. In the past few months, Kashmir has witnessed the biggest pro-independence demonstrations since the separatist insurgency erupted in 1989. The protests have been met by a tough crackdown by Indian security forces. Since June, 42 Muslim and three Hindu protesters have been shot dead by security forces in unrest sparked by a state government plan to grant land to a Hindu pilgrim trust.