Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Kashmiris defy curfew after boy killed

THOUSANDS of angry residents defied a curfew in the Indian portion of Kashmir on Tuesday, protesting the overnight killing of an 11-year-old boy by government forces, reports Aijaz Hussain of The Canadian Press.

Fifteen people were wounded in the southern town of Anantnag late Monday when government forces shot into a crowd despite an appeal last week from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that they use non-lethal measures to control the demonstrations that have become a near daily occurrence in the volatile region.

At least 65 people have died in anti-India demonstrations and clashes between security forces and protesters in Kashmir since June. Each death has triggered more protests despite a rigid curfew in the Kashmir valley.

Anger against Indian rule runs deep in the region, which is divided between Hindu-majority India and predominantly Muslim Pakistan and claimed by both nuclear-armed nations in its entirety.

The latest deadly unrest against Indian rule shows no signs of abating despite the deployment of thousands of troops.

Thousands of residents marched in Anantnag early Tuesday within hours of the death of the young boy.

Police and paramilitary soldiers fired warning shots and tear gas to quell the protests, wounding three people, said a police officer on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to media.

In Srinagar, the region's main city, hundreds of men, women and children also held angry protests. They chanted "Go India, go back" and "We want freedom."

Police and paramilitary soldiers withdrew from the area to avoid clashes but sealed off the streets with razor wire and steel barricades.