The Jammu and Kashmir government should ensure due rights and protections for children detained for taking part in violent street protests, Human Rights Watch has said.
Hundreds of these children, locally known as the "stone pelters", are at risk of arbitrary detention and abuse as authorities struggle to identify the often-masked culprits and contain the protests.
At least 17 people, many of them young, have died in street violence during protest marches called by various separatist or political groups in Jammu and Kashmir over the past two months, the rights body said.
The police have detained hundreds, many of them children, for rioting or endangering the life or personal safety of others, offences that can lead to imprisonment for up to two years.
"Violent protesters and the people inciting them are breaking the law and should be punished," said a Human Rights Watch official.
"But the Jammu and Kashmir government needs to comply with Indian and international law for detention and prosecution, and give special attention to the requirements for children," she said.