Indian troops fire on Kashmir protesters; 1 dead

Troops fire on hundreds of protesters in Indian Kashmir, killing 1

AP News

Oct 26, 2008 05:04 EST

Government troops in Indian Kashmir opened fire Sunday on hundreds of angry protesters demanding the release of several people arrested during a recent strike, killing one and wounding at least three others, a police official said.

The Muslim protesters in Baramullah town, 35 miles north of Srinagar, the main city in India’s Jammu-Kashmir state, threw stones and clashed with police and paramilitary soldiers, who responded first with bamboo truncheons and tear gas and then with live ammunition, said Abdul Gani Mir, the area’s deputy inspector general.

The protesters chanted pro-freedom slogans as they clashed with the troops, Mir said.

Police will investigate the death and injuries, he said.

On Friday, a general strike was organized by the Jammu-Kashmir Coordination Committee, a coalition of Muslim separatists and local business leaders, during which local residents said at least 10 people were arrested by police.

Mir said police arrested only four people.

Anti-India sentiment runs deep in Kashmir, where most people favor independence from mainly Hindu India or a merger with predominantly Muslim Pakistan.

At least 45 people have died in unrest since August, most of them killed when Indian soldiers opened fire on Muslim demonstrators.

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan, which both claim the region and have fought two wars over it.

Militant separatist groups have been fighting since 1989 to end Indian rule. The uprising and subsequent Indian crackdown have killed about 68,000 people, most of them civilians.

Source: AP News

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