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Indian troops use force to curb fresh protests in Kashmir

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Kashmiri protesters throw stones at Indian security forces in Srinagar on August 29, 2016. (AFP photo)

A fresh wave of violence erupts in Indian-controlled Kashmir where New Delhi’s troops have used force to curb renewed protests by pro-independence demonstrators.  

Fierce clashes broke out between Indian troops and hundreds of stone-pelting protesters in Srinagar, the region's main city, on Monday. Protests and clashes were also reported in many other areas of the disputed valley.

Angry protesters chanted slogans like "We want freedom" and "Go India, go back" as they hurled stones at government forces across the Muslim-majority region.

Indian forces fired live ammunition, shotguns and tear gas at protesters who responded by hurling stones in the city of Srinagar and elsewhere.

Several civilians were reportedly injured in the latest fierce clashes.

Earlier, Indian authorities lifted a 52-day curfew in the Himalayan region except the town of Pulwama and some parts of Srinagar. However, they reimposed it later in most of Srinagar after anti-India protests and clashes erupted in several neighborhoods.

Violence erupted in Indian-controlled Kashmir on July 8, when people protested against the killing of Burhan Wani, a popular pro-independence fighter, by Indian forces.

Indian forces have imposed a curfew across large parts of Kashmir since July. 

The curfew, a series of communication blackouts and a tightening crackdown have failed to halt some of the largest protests against Indian rule in recent years.

Kashmiri protesters throw stones at Indian security forces in Srinagar on August 29, 2016. (AFP photo)

Nearly 70 Kashmiris have been killed and thousands more injured - mostly by government forces - in a crackdown since early July when tension escalated in the region. This is the worst violence seen across Kashmir in years.

Meanwhile, media reports indicate that wedding halls and prayer rooms have been turned into classrooms in Indian-controlled Kashmir as families struggle to provide children with a normal life. Students find their way to the makeshift schools in small groups through back lanes amid curfew.

The students often sit on the floor as there are not enough desks and share books.

"It's more like a self-learning exercise, just a way to keep in touch with books," Reuters quoted Muneer Wani, 16, at his temporary school at a mosque where classes begin after morning prayers.

There are an estimated 500,000 Indian troops currently deployed in the restive territory.

Since India and Pakistan won independence from British rule in 1947, they have been claiming Kashmir in full but have only partial control over it. Thousands of people have been killed in the unrest in Kashmir since early 1990s.


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