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Forces told to shoot anyone defying Kashmir curfew

Kashmiri protesters shout slogans Tuesday as they burn effigies of the Indian prime minister and another official in Srinagar, India. Police announced that curfew violators would be shot on sight. 

Associated Press

Kashmiri protesters shout slogans Tuesday as they burn effigies of the Indian prime minister and another official in Srinagar, India. Police announced that curfew violators would be shot on sight. 

SRINAGAR, India — Indian police patrolled the streets of Kashmir on Tuesday, threatening to shoot anyone defying a round-the-clock curfew a day after 19 people died in battles between troops and protesters in the disputed region.

Still, hundreds of anti-India protesters took to the streets of the region's main city of Srinagar and more than a dozen other places in the region. Government forces responded by firing live ammunition and tear gas to disperse them, police said. At least 14 people were wounded, according to police and a resident.

The Himalayan region has been wracked by anti-India protests throughout the summer, but the chaos Monday — exacerbated by reports of a Koran desecration in the United States — was the deadliest since large-scale demonstrations began in June. The violence has killed at least 88 people, mostly teenage boys and young men in their 20s.

Anger at India runs deep in Kashmir. The mainly Muslim protesters reject rule by Hindu-dominated India and want independence or a merger with predominantly Muslim Pakistan.

Kashmir has been under a 24-hour curfew since Saturday evening, though the curfew has been regularly defied. In an attempt to prevent another round of violence, police and paramilitary soldiers drove through the area's main towns, using loudspeakers to announce that curfew violators would be shot on sight.

Authorities suspended all flights to Srinagar because of security fears, a police officer said.

Across the region, hundreds of protesters chanted, "Go India! Go back!" and "We want freedom!" They also burned effigies of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and a top regional official.

In Srinagar and several surrounding towns, soldiers and police fired both above crowds and into them and launched tear gas canisters to disperse the protesters, some of whom were hurling rocks, police officials told the Associated Press. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to release the information to the media.

In the southern town of Bijbehara, a resident said government forces fired at scores of women who alleged that the troops had beaten men in their homes. Two women were hospitalized, Manzoor Ahmed said. Police said they were investigating the incident.

Forces told to shoot anyone defying Kashmir curfew 09/14/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 11:46pm]

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