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Kashmir Streets Remain Under Army Lockdown


Tens of thousands of Indian soldiers are patrolling the streets of Indian-controlled Kashmir for a second day, enforcing a rigid curfew aimed at ending weeks of violent protests.

Indian Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram appealed Thursday for parents in the region to keep their teenage sons indoors after 16 people were killed in anti-India demonstrations in recent weeks.

Chidambaram said it is important that people do not come into the streets and start throwing stones. He added the Indian army will be in Kashmir as long as necessary.

The army was deployed to the volatile region for the first time in two decades Wednesday to help police and paramilitary troops enforce the curfew.

Shops and schools were closed Thursday, and authorities canceled curfew passes for journalists. Hundreds of doctors and other staff at a government hospital in Srinagar protested the restrictions before being dispersed by police.

Despite the curfew, separatist leaders called for more protests and said the military measures will not be able to "break the will of the people."

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.

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

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