Monday, August 18, 2008


A curfew has been imposed in parts of Indian-administered Kashmir for a third consecutive day after violence in the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley.

More than 20 people were killed when security forces opened fire on protesters on Monday and Tuesday.

Tension is also high in the mainly Hindu region of Jammu. Two people were killed in communal clashes on Tuesday.

Police have been given orders to shoot demonstrators who defy a curfew in the town of Kishtwar, in Jammu.

At least four districts in the valley region - Baramulla, Bandipora, Pulwama and Shopian - remain under curfew for a third consecutive day, a BBC correspondent in Srinagar says.

Kashmir's summer capital, Srinagar, and five other districts were hit by violence on Tuesday.

Anger and shock

Our correspondent says people in many parts of Srinagar came out of their homes before midnight on Tuesday and chanted pro-freedom slogans.

Many of them assembled in mosques where they turned on loudspeakers to relay the slogans.

This followed reports that the police had ransacked some homes in the city, and more than 30 people were injured when paramilitary forces fired at protesters in the valley.

The BBC's Altaf Hussain says there is anger and shock among people in the valley region over what they describe an excessive use of force by the police to break up protest demonstrations
Protests and counter-protests have been taking place for weeks both in the Kashmir valley around Jammu, further south.

The demonstrations in the valley are some of the biggest since a separatist rebellion against Indian rule broke out nearly 20 years ago.

Tensions are rising and threaten peace hopes after years of relative calm. Correspondents say Kashmir is now dangerously polarised by a dispute which began over the control of a small piece of land.

Violent demonstrations began two months ago in the state when a decision to transfer a small area of land to the trust which runs a Hindu shrine provoked an angry Muslim reaction.

When the land transfer was abandoned, groups from the state's Hindu minority began furious protests of their own.

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