South Asia

Indefinite curfew imposed in Kashmir after protests

Woman walks past barbed wire in Srinagar (21 September 2010)
Image caption Steel and barbed-wire barricades were used to seal off public squares in Srinagar

Security forces in Indian-administered Kashmir have imposed an indefinite curfew in the main city of Srinagar and other big towns in the region.

It comes after many people were wounded when police clashed with mass protests against Indian rule on Saturday.

Tens of thousands of people marched through Srinagar following prayers to mark the end of the month of Ramadan.

A new opinion poll suggests two-thirds of people living in the Kashmir valley would favour independence from India.

Only 6% wanted the predominantly Muslim area to merge with Pakistan, according to the survey conducted for the Hindustan Times newspaper.

But the desire for independence was not shared by people in the Hindu-majority Jammu and the mostly Buddhist Ladakh regions, it found.


On Sunday, armoured vehicles and police patrolled the streets of Srinagar and other major towns in Jammu and Kashmir state in a bid to enforce the curfew imposed after the previous day's protests.

Steel and barbed-wire barricades were used to seal off public squares.

Meanwhile, the police have accused an influential separatist leader of inciting Saturday's violence.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the head of the moderate faction of the All-Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC), asked tens of thousands of worshippers at prayers marking the festival of Eid al-Fitr to protest against Indian rule.

A government building and a police checkpoint were set on fire as the demonstrators marched to the historic centre of Srinagar, carrying green Islamic flags and chanting slogans demanding autonomy and freedom.

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Media captionThe BBC's Altaf Hussain: "The government is clueless as to what to do"

Mr Farooq on Sunday denied provoking violence, telling the Associated Press that the accusation was a "desperate attempt to dilute the political significance of Kashmiris who gathered... demanding their right to self-determination".

The APHC is an umbrella organisation of separatist groups which campaigns peacefully for an end to India's presence in Kashmir.

Seventy people have been killed since June in the region, which has been a flashpoint between India and Pakistan for more than 50 years.

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