Thousands Protest Carpenter's Killing In Kashmir

19 March 2009
Agence France-Presse

Srinagar: Thousands of people in revolt-hit Kashmir held a massive anti-India demonstration Thursday over the alleged murder by police of a Muslim carpenter. The death occurred Wednesday evening in southern Pulwama district, sparking protests by thousands of Kashmiris, who chanted slogans like 'down with Indian troops' and 'we want freedom.' 'The protests are continuing,' local resident Reyaz Sheikh told AFP by telephone. 'We will bury the dead only after government promises to punish the guilty,' he said. Prabhakar Tripathi, the spokesman for Central Reserve Police Force, said the carpenter, Mohiudin Malik was killed by cross-fire during a confrontation between Muslim militants and police. But Malik's family said he was killed after he argued with federal police who raided his house, and that there were no rebels in the area at the time of the shooting. India's state-owned television, Doordarshan, said four policemen, including an officer, have been suspended after the death. Local police also said they have registered a murder case and launched an investigation. Kashmir is in the grip of a nearly two decade old insurgency against Indian rule that has so far left more than 47,000 people dead, according to official figures. Anti-India sentiment runs deep in the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley, which last year witnessed some of the biggest protests. Over 50 Muslims were killed, mostly by security forces.