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Protests Continue Despite Curfew in Indian Kashmir


Authorities in Indian Kashmir used tear gas and batons Tuesday to disperse hundreds of protesters, as the death toll among separatist demonstrators rose to five.

Security forces clashed with protesters who gathered today in Kashmir's southern Achabal area in defiance of a strict three-day-old curfew.

Authorities imposed the curfew ahead of a massive anti-India rally that was planned for Monday in the summer capital, Srinagar. Thousands of police and troops clashed with stone-throwing Muslim protesters on the outskirts of the capital Monday, killing five people and preventing the rally from taking place.

At least 80 people were wounded in the clashes.

Security forces also detained at least four Muslim separatist leaders - Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Syed Ali Geelani and Mohammed Yasin Malik, and Asiya Andrabi, the head of Kashmir's women's separatist group.

Elsewhere, in Kashmir's Hindu-dominated winter capital of Jammu, Hindu protesters clashed with police Monday.

Hindu groups in the area have staged strikes and barricaded roads, creating an economic blockade of Kashmir Valley.

Tension has run high in the region since June, when the government announced plans to transfer land in the Muslim-majority area to a Hindu shrine. Muslim protests prompted the government to rescind the plan, angering Hindus.

Kashmir is divided between Pakistan and India but claimed by both. Islamic separatists have been fighting for Kashmir's independence from India, or for its merger with Muslim-dominated Pakistan, since 1989.

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