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Clashes Reported in Kashmir as India Prepares for Independence Day



Police fired teargas canisters to disperse a crowd of rowdy youths staging anti-India protests Friday in the capital of India-controlled Kashmir.

Dozens of youths emerged from Srinagar's main mosque after Friday prayers, shooting firecrackers, burning an Indian flag and shouting pro-Pakistan chants. The demonstrators threw rocks at security forces before the gathering was broken up.

Islamic separatists in Kashmir have been fighting to merge with Pakistan or to establish an independent homeland for two decades.

Military officials say India's many states have been asked to bolster their security measures ahead of Independence Day celebrations on Saturday.

Security officials in Srinagar say there will also be increased security at the stadium where the main festivities will take place.

India will mark the 62nd anniversary of independence from its former colonial power, Britain.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton released a statement Friday, commemorating the sacrifices Indians made to gain their independence and establish a democracy.

Indian police are deploying in force in the capital of New Delhi and along the country's borders in preparation for Independence Day celebrations.

Police and paramilitary forces patrolled parts of Srinagar, the capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir, on Friday. Officials say there will also be increased security at the stadium where the main festivities will take place.

Military officials say India's many states have also been asked to bolster their security measures as a precaution. And there is increased security at transportation hubs across the country.

Saturday marks the 62nd anniversary of India's independence from Britain, and the first Independence Day celebration since November terror attacks in Mumbai.

The attacks, blamed on 10 gunmen sent by the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, left more than 160 people dead.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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