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Two Killed in Street Protests in Indian-controlled Kashmir


In Indian-controlled Kashmir, two people have been killed and several injured when police opened fire to quell violent street protests.

Police say one protester died Monday when a huge crowd defied a curfew to take part in the funeral procession of a man who was killed during street protests the previous day in Sopore town. In Baramulla town, a nine-year-old boy was also killed as demonstrators also poured into the streets.

Residents say the latest deaths occurred in firing by security forces, who have been trying to put down the protests. Police, however, say they did not fire any live ammunition, and only used rubber bullets.

Vikram Srivastav, director general of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), denies paramilitary forces have fired at civilians.

"The security forces, particularly the CRPF, they are acting with great restraint, great control."

In Srinagar, police erected barricades to prevent thousands of people from marching to Sopore, where most of the deaths have taken place. Authorities also shut down schools and colleges for two days throughout the valley.

Tensions have been rising in Indian-controlled Kashmir, where at least eight civilians have died in the last two weeks in incidents involving security forces. The state government has expressed concern at the rising civilian death toll.

At a news conference Sunday night, Jammu and Kashmir law minister Ali Mohammad Sagar, accused security forces of ignoring instructions to exercise restraint. Sagar said there appears to be lack of command and coordination among the paramilitary forces, which, he said, results in the killing of civilians.

Tens of thousands of troops are based in Indian Kashmir, where a separatist insurgency erupted in 1989. Violence has ebbed in recent years, but slogans for freedom from Indian rule still resonate during the kind of protests and street demonstrations witnessed in recent days. There is also widespread resentment against the heavy presence of troops, whom Kashmiris accuse of rights violations.

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