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Indian Minister Calls for End to 'Mindless' Violence in Kashmir


Hundreds of anti-India demonstrators took to the streets of Indian-controlled Kashmir Wednesday, as the country's home minister called for an end to the "mindless" violence in the region.

Palaniappan Chidambaram told parliament the federal government was ready to reactivate the political process through dialogue, once order is restored in Kashmir.

The Muslim-majority Himalayan region has been rocked by weeks of demonstrations against Indian rule. At least 45 people have been killed in the protests, most of them shot dead by security forces trying to dispel stone-throwing crowds.

On Wednesday, Home Minister Chidambaram urged parents in Kashmir to ensure their kids do not take part in the violent demonstrations.

Protesters defied a curfew and police warnings and marched in Kashmir's main city of Srinagar Wednesday, chanting anti-India slogans.

Muslim separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani called for the demonstrations to continue, but without violence.

Railway officials said Wednesday the protests have forced them to suspend train service between the northern and southern Kashmir Valley. They say protesters have set fire to at least one train station.

The latest demonstrations began after a 17-year-old student was killed when police fired a tear gas shell at protesters in June.

Kashmiri separatists have been fighting for independence from India or a merger with Muslim-majority Pakistan for more than 20 years. Tens of thousands of people have died in the conflict.

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan, but claimed in its entirety by both. The two nuclear-armed neighbors have fought two wars over the Himalayan region.

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

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