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Indian Officials Relax Kashmir Curfew

Residents of Indian Kashmir have been rushing to stores and markets to stock up on food, medicine and other supplies following days of protests.

Indian officials briefly relaxed a region-wide four-day curfew Thursday, although there were some reports of clashes with police.

Tensions have run high in the Himalayan region since June, when the Indian government announced plans to transfer land in a Muslim-majority area to a Hindu shrine. Muslim protests prompted the government to rescind the plan, angering Hindus.

The United Nations' High Commissioner for Human Rights has called on India to show restraint in Kashmir.

U.N. officials issued a statement demanding an investigation into recent civilian casualties.

Meanwhile, authorities in Indian Kashmir say a day-long hostage crisis in the Hindu-dominated Jammu region ended late Wednesday after security forces killed the last of the three militants holed up in a house.

The authorities say two of eight hostages taken by the militants, as well as two soldiers, also died.

The hostage drama began early Wednesday after three suspected Muslim militants -- believed to have slipped across the border from Pakistan into Indian Kashmir -- shot dead two civilians and a soldier.

The suspects then fled to a nearby house, taking a family hostage.

A police official, Inspector General K. Rajendra, said authorities are looking for more infiltrators who are trying to exploit recent unrest in Jammu.

Kashmir is divided between Pakistan and India but claimed by both. The two countries have fought two wars over the disputed territory.

Islamic separatist groups have been fighting for Kashmir's independence from India or its merger with Pakistan since 1989. Tens of thousands of people have been killed in insurgency-related violence.

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