July 8, 2009 / 10:41 AM / 10 years ago

Kashmir death triggers new anti-India protests

Policemen help an injured colleague after he was hit by a stone thrown by protesters during a protest in Srinagar July 8, 2009. REUTERS/Fayaz Kabli

SRINAGAR, India (Reuters) - Police fired in the air and used tear gas on Wednesday to disperse hundreds of demonstrators protesting a student’s death in Kashmir’s main city, officials said.

Angry residents burned tyres, threw stones, set a police vehicle on fire and forced businesses in the heart of Srinagar to close. The protesters accused police of killing 20-year-old man after his arrest.

Police denied the charge and said the man was killed by unidentified criminals. He went missing last week and his body was found near a graveyard in Srinagar on Wednesday.

Anti-India protests have raged across the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley since bodies of two women, aged 17 and 22, who locals say were abducted, raped and killed by security forces, were found on May 29.

Indian security forces fighting separatist militants in Jammu and Kashmir, India’s only Muslim-majority state, have been accused in the past of human rights violations including rape and extrajudicial killings.

Authorities deny any systematic violations and say all reports are investigated and the guilty punished.

Last week, the government withdrew paramilitary troops from Baramulla town in north Kashmir, where they shot dead four protesters to quell violent anti-India demonstrations.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the disputed Himalayan region since a revolt against Indian rule broke out in 1989.

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