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Four civilians killed in anti-India protests in Kashmir

Four people have been killed in troubled Indian-controlled Kashmir as hundreds clashed with government troops during anti-India protests, police said.

At least 15 others were injured, three of whom are reported to be in a critical condition.

A police official said government troops fired live ammunition and used pellet guns to control the stone-throwing and slogan-chanting crowds in Aripanthan village, west of the area's main city, Srinagar.

Locals and officials said government forces stopped hundreds of villagers from chanting slogans against Indian rule in Aripanthan village and clashes erupted as troops fired tear gas and shotgun pellets to quell the protests.

As the clashes intensified, troops fired live bullets at the protesters.

News of the killings brought thousands of others from neighbouring villages into the streets chanting "Go India, go back" and "We want freedom".

The Himalayan region has been extremely tense for almost six weeks since government troops shot and killed a popular rebel leader.

Tuesday's killings take the death toll in the recent weeks of protests to 63, including two policemen. Thousands more have been injured.

The region is divided between India and Pakistan and claimed in entirety by both. Anti-India feelings run strong in Muslim-majority Indian Kashmir, where most people favour independence or a merger with Pakistan.

India accuses Pakistan of arming and training Kashmiri rebels who have been fighting for independence or for a merger with Pakistan since 1989. Pakistan denies the charge, saying it provides only moral and political support.

More than 68,000 people have been killed since rebel groups began fighting Indian forces in 1989 and in a subsequent Indian military crackdown.



From Belfast Telegraph