Curfew in Indian Kashmir as fourth protester dies

Troops enforced a curfew in major towns in Indian Kashmir on Saturday as a fourth person died from injuries suffered when soldiers opened fire to quell demonstrators the previous day.

Three people were killed Friday in two separate incidents when security forces opened fire to disperse angry anti-India protesters in the northern towns of Sopore and Patan.

On Saturday, police said a fourth man, who had been seriously injured in the shooting at Patan, died in hospital early in the morning, raising the death toll to four.

The fresh death came as authorities placed most of the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley under curfew.

"A curfew is in force in Srinagar and other major towns of the Kashmir Valley," a police spokesman said.

Indian police gather near shops during clashes with demonstrators in Srinagar on July 30

Srinagar, Indian Kashmir's summer capital, wore a deserted look as troops carrying rifles and batons patrolled the streets.

Police and paramilitary forces were also deployed in strength in big towns to prevent demonstrations, the spokesman said.

Srinagar has been the focus of protests since June 11 when a 17-year-old student died after being hit by a police teargas shell.

Indian police and paramilitary forces, who have been struggling to control the wave of protests in the valley, have been accused of killing 21 civilians in less than two months.

Each death has sparked a new cycle of violence despite appeals for calm from state Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram.

The insurgency against New Delhi's rule of Kashmir has claimed tens of thousands of lives, though the recent unrest is the worst for two years.

Nuclear-armed India and Pakistan each hold Kashmir in part but claim it in full and have fought two of their three wars over the region since the partition of the subcontinent in 1947.

Separatist politicians and armed rebels reject Indian rule in Kashmir and want to merge with Muslim-majority Pakistan or carve out an independent state.

source AFP

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