Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Police issue shoot-on-sight orders in Kashmir

SRINAGAR, India — Indian police patrolled the streets of Kashmir on Tuesday, threatening to shoot anyone defying a rigid curfew imposed in the disputed region a day after 19 people died in battles between troops and protesters.
The Himalayan region has been wracked by anti-India protests throughout the summer, but the chaos Monday — exacerbated by reports of a Quran desecration in the United States — was the deadliest since large-scale demonstrations began in June.
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.
In an attempt to prevent another round of violence, police and paramilitary soldiers drove through the deserted streets of the area's main towns, using loudspeakers to announce that curfew violators would be shot on sight.
Authorities suspended all flights to Indian-controlled Kashmir's main city, Srinagar, because of security fears, a police officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to release the information.
But scores of demonstrators took to the streets of Baramulla, north of Srinagar, and hurled rocks at police. Soldiers retaliated by firing shots in the air and launching tear gas shells, wounding three protesters, said another police officer, again speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

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