Government officials in Indian-controlled Kashmir have formally revoked
a decision to give land to Hindu pilgrims, after days of protests in
the majority-Muslim region.
Members of the Jammu-Kashmir state
Cabinet met Tuesday in Kashmir's main town of Srinagar and officially
canceled the transfer of 40 hectares of land to a Hindu religious trust.
least five people have been killed and hundreds injured in nine days of
protests by Muslims, who say the land transfer is a conspiracy to
change the region's demographics.
The state's decision comes as authorities placed several top separatist leaders under house arrest to deter further protests.
say those placed under house arrest Tuesday include Mirwaiz Umar
Farooq, Shabir Shah and Mohammad Yasin Malik. Another separatist
leader, Syed Ali Geelani, managed to evade police.
demonstrations continued in Srinagar Tuesday, as thousands of people made
their way to a mosque for a rally. And in the mainly-Hindu city of
Jammu, Hindu activists clashed with police, who used live ammunition to
disperse protesters. Schools and businesses also remained closed
throughout the Himalayan valley.
Each year, thousands of Hindu
pilgrims travel to a cave holding a massive icicle, considered to be a
symbol of the Hindu god Lord Shiva.
Kashmir is divided between
India and Pakistan, but claimed by both. Islamic separatist groups
have been fighting for independence from India or a merger with
Pakistan since 1989.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.