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Indian forces kill two protesters in Indian-controlled 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)
Protesters clash with Indian forces during the Muslim ritual of Eid al-Adha during a curfew in Srinagar, Kashmir, September 13, 2016. (AFP)

Two people have been killed in fresh clashes between Indian forces and pro-independence protesters in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

Police on Tuesday used tear gas and shotgun pellets against the protesters in several areas including the city of Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir.

A protester was killed by a tear gas canister in the northern area of Bandipora, while another demonstrator lost his life by pellets in Shopian in the south, police said. At least five dozen people were injured in fierce clashes in 10 different places across the disputed valley.

The protesters had defied a curfew imposed on the whole region during Eid al-Adha, or Feast of Sacrifice, which marks the culmination of the annual Hajj pilgrimage. Most residents in Kashmir remained indoors for the Islamic ritual.

Indian authorities did not allow congregational Eid prayers in the main mosques and Eid grounds in the Muslim-majority region, but prayers were held by people in small neighborhood mosques.

Almost all businesses remained closed and traffic stayed off the streets across major towns of the valley. Authorities ordered restrictions on the movement of residents across the region. A large number of paramilitary troops and armed police in riot gear patrolled the deserted streets of many towns and villages across Kashmir.

Protesters clash with Indian forces during the Muslim ritual of Eid al-Adha under a curfew in Srinagar, Kashmir, September 13, 2016. (AFP)

Indian-controlled Kashmir has witnessed violence since early July, when Burhan Wani, a top figure in the pro-independence Hizb-ul-Mujahideen group, was killed in a shootout with Indian troops in Kokernag area. Nearly 80 people have lost their lives ever since.

Curfew, communication blackouts and a tightening crackdown have failed to halt the protests against the Indian rule in Kashmir in recent years.

Kashmir lies at the heart of a bitter territorial dispute since India and Pakistan became independent in 1947.

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