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Iran Press TV

Dozens injured as troops fire at student protesters in Indian-controlled Kashmir

Iran Press TV

Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:2PM

Dozens of people have been injured after paramilitary troops opened fire on a crowd of stone-throwing student protesters in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

Media reports said police fired live rounds and used tear gas and water cannon to try to disperse hundreds of students in the main city of Srinagar on Monday.

The students retaliated by hurling stones and breaching the barricades set up by paramilitary soldiers.

The angry students also chanted slogans against Indian rule over the Muslim-majority Himalayan region.

"We want freedom" and "Go India, go back," they shouted.

Shopkeepers downed their shutters and many bystanders took refuge inside as the clashes with Indian forces spilled onto main streets in the city's main commercial center of Lal Chowk.

Tensions between Kashmiri students and government forces have intensified since April 15, when Indian forces raided a college in Pulwama, about 30 kilometers (20 miles) south of Srinagar, to scare anti-India activists.

Nearly 100 students were wounded in last week's disturbances. The unrest had prompted authorities to temporarily shut down schools and universities.

In a separate incident on Monday, an official with the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) was shot by unknown gunmen, later dying of his injuries.

PDP formed a governing alliance with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after a 2015 election in the state. That has made his party hugely unpopular in the mainly Muslim valley.

In the latest surge of violence in Kashmir, at least eight people were killed on April 9, when Indian paramilitary forces clashed with protesters during a by-election in Srinagar.

Pro-independence factions in Kashmir had called for a boycott of the vote, resulting in heightened security and low voter turnout when the polling began.

The Muslim-majority region has witnessed an increase in mass protests and violent attacks since early July 2016, when Burhan Wani, a top figure in a pro-independence group, was killed in a shootout with Indian troops.

More than 90 people have lost their lives and more than 12,000 wounded in the ensuing crackdown.

In recent months, the use of pellet guns by Indian forces in Kashmir has drawn widespread criticism as the weapons have caused permanent disabilities among victims.

The government crackdown has failed to halt the protests against the Indian rule in Kashmir.

The region has been divided between India and Pakistan but claimed in full by both since the two partitioned and gained independence from Britain in 1947. The two countries have fought three wars over the disputed territory.

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