Curfew imposed again in parts of Kashmir
Authorities re-imposed a rigid curfew throughout most of the Indian portion of Kashmir to prevent street protests after Friday prayers following weeks of unrest that has killed 15 people.india Updated: Jul 16, 2010 14:12 IST
Authorities re-imposed a rigid curfew throughout most parts of Kashmir to prevent street protests after Friday prayers following weeks of unrest that has killed 15 people.
The region has been under a rolling curfew for the past three weeks after anti-India street protests and clashes surged.
The tension in the Himalayan region - divided between India and Pakistan and claimed by both - is reminiscent of the late 1980s, when protests against New Delhi's rule sparked an armed conflict that has killed more than 68,000 people, mostly civilians. Separatist, politicians and militants want to carve out a separate homeland or merge with Pakistan.
On Friday, thousands of police and paramilitary soldiers _ dressed in riot gear and armed with assault rifles - patrolled Srinagar, the main city in Kashmir. They asked people to stay at home, said Javaid Ahmed, a local resident. The government decision followed a call for protests by the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, the region's main grouping of separatist parties. An earlier curfew had been eased last weekend so that residents could celebrate a Muslim festival. But on Thursday, the unrest picked up again, when thousands of people held streets protests chanting "We want freedom" and "Go India, go back" in Srinagar.
Clashes erupted as government forces fired tear gas to disperse rock-throwing protesters in Srinagar and some other towns, injuring 16 protesters and 13 troops, a police officer said on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to talk to reporters. On Friday, shops, schools and government offices were closed and public buses stayed off the roads in the region.