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New Protests Break Out in Kashmir, Across India


For a second day, police in Indian-controlled Kashmir have opened fire during protests in the main town of Srinagar.

Thousands of Muslims took to the streets Wednesday to mourn fellow protesters killed in skirmishes with police. Demonstrators chanted slogans calling for revenge and independence from India, while destroying police bunkers.

Others scrambled to stock up on supplies as Indian forces briefly eased a total curfew.

Officials say at least 21 people have been killed since Monday, when Muslim separatists began demonstrating against an economic blockade and India's rule over the region. Many others have been wounded in clashes.

Muslim separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq today called for three days of mourning and urged people to protest peacefully.

United Nations spokesman in New York, Farhan Haq, today said the High Commissioner for Human Rights is monitoring developments and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is aware of the situation.

Muslim protesters oppose the Hindu blockade of a major highway leading to the Muslim-dominated Kashmir Valley. The blockade has disrupted the flow of supplies to the region.

Meanwhile, the demonstrations spread throughout India - as Hindu nationalists in New Delhi, Mumbai and the tourist city of Agra blocked traffic and railway lines for several hours, bringing the cities to a temporary standstill.

Hindu protesters are demanding that the government re-instate a land transfer to a Hindu shrine.

Kashmir is divided between Pakistan and India, and claimed by both. Islamic separatists have been fighting for Kashmir's independence from India, or for the region's merger with Pakistan.

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