20 Hurt In Fresh Anti-India Protests In Kashmir

17 October 2008
Agence France-Presse

Srinagar: Twenty people were injured Friday when police fired teargas and used batons to disperse hundreds of protesters in disputed Indian Kashmir, police said. The protesters poured on to the streets of the summer capital Srinagar after Friday prayers and chanted 'We want freedom' and 'Allah is great,' witnesses said. Police prevented them from marching to the city centre by firing teargas and charging at them with batons. A committee of separatists and trade unions spearheading recent anti-India demonstrations in the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley had called upon the residents to hold 'peaceful protests' after Friday prayers. The police action sparked clashes as protesters retreated into narrow lanes and pelted police with stones and bricks. 'So far 20 people, including some policeman, have been injured,' police officer Pervez Ahmed 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. The recent protests were triggered by a row over a government donation of Kashmiri land to a Hindu pilgrimage trust and spiralled into anti-India demonstrations that left more than 45 Muslim protesters dead.