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Boy, 9, killed in Kashmir protests

Police have opened fire at rock-throwing Kashmiris, killing a nine-year-old boy and sparking violent street protests by thousands in India's portion of the troubled Himalayan region, a police officer said.

At least 20 people were wounded in firing, one critically.

More than 60 people have died in anti-Indian demonstrations and clashes between security forces and protesters in the volatile region since June.

Anger against Indian rule runs deep in Kashmir, which is divided between Hindu-majority India and predominantly Muslim Pakistan, though claimed by both nuclear-armed nations in its entirety.

Security forces fired tear gas and gunshots in the southern town of Anantnag, where hundreds of residents held protests and clashed with police.

The nine-year-old boy was killed and 15 people injured in the shooting, the officer said.

As the news of the boy's death spread in the area, thousands of people, including those living in neighbouring towns and villages, held angry street protests, forcing government forces to retreat from the troubled spot, the officer said.

Earlier, police opened fire in Srinagar after residents in Indian Kashmir's main city attacked them with stones, injuring five people, the officer said.

However, local resident Hanief Ahmed said the shooting was unprovoked and officers targeted a group of men playing a board game outside. "There was no protest and police fired at them without any reason," Mr Ahmed said.

Hundreds of people defied a curfew in Srinagar to demonstrate against the shooting, chanting "Go India! Go back" and "We want freedom". Police also fired tear gas to disperse the crowd.

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