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3 Die in Indian Kashmir Protests

Authorities say security forces opened fire on stone-throwing protesters in Indian-controlled Kashmir, killing three people in the latest violence to hit the disputed region.

Tuesday's deaths raised to 15 the number of civilians killed during several weeks of demonstrations by anti-India Muslim separatists.

Crowds defied a curfew in Kashmir's main town of Srinagar Tuesday and took to the streets chanting "we want freedom." The fresh protests broke out when the body of a demonstrator was found in a stream. Local residents say the man drowned while being chased by security forces on Monday.

Police said a woman was among three killed in separate demonstrations Tuesday.

A senior separatist leader, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who led Tuesday's protests said demonstrations and civil disobedience will continue until Indian security forces withdraw from populated areas.

Schools and colleges were closed in the region, as separatists appealed to students to hold anti-India protests.

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan. Muslim insurgents in Indian Kashmir have been fighting for independence from India or a merger with Muslim-majority Pakistan for more than 20 years.

The two nuclear-armed neighbors have fought two wars over the Himalayan region.

On Tuesday, Indian officials said an Indian soldier was killed by gunfire coming from the Pakistani side of the Kashmir border.

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