South Asia

Civilians killed in renewed Kashmir violence

At least three civilians have been killed in the latest violence in Indian-administered Kashmir, police say.

They were killed in clashes with police in the town of Anantnag, south of the capital Srinagar.

The BBC's Altaf Hussain in Srinagar says that authorities are increasingly concerned about the violence.

The latest round of demonstrations was one of the biggest anti-India protests in two years.

Clashes between ordinary people and the police worry the state and national governments more than militant violence, our correspondent says.

On Tuesday the army said it killed five militants who were trying to cross the Line of Control which divides Indian- and Pakistani-administered Kashmir.

The army said that three soldiers also died in the gunbattle on Monday night and Sunday afternoon in the Nowgam area.

'Trigger happy'

The three deaths on Tuesday mean that there have been 10 civilian deaths at the hands of the security forces this month in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Image caption The protests have been some of the biggest in two years

Local people and the state government have blamed most of those deaths on the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).

They say that in many cases the CRPF - who have been described by the state government as "trigger happy" - fired on unarmed protesters.

But the CRPF argues that it has had to use live ammunition on protesters because they have been pelted by stones.

Demonstrators in Anantnag were protesting against the killings of civilians by the police and paramilitaries in the Kashmir valley.

A strike is also being held throughout Indian-administered Kashmir to protest against civilian deaths.

Shops across the Kashmir Valley are closed and traffic is suspended.

Interceptions

On Tuesday, thousands of police in riot gear patrolled Srinagar while paramilitary soldiers drove through neighbourhoods warning people to stay indoors and not participate in the protests.

Anti-India sentiment runs deep in Muslim-majority Kashmir, over which India and Pakistan both claim sovereignty and have fought two wars.

The authorities have re-imposed a curfew in the northern town of Sopore, where protesters clashed with the police until late on Monday night.

Hundreds of thousands of troops are based in Kashmir to fight a two-decade insurgency against Indian rule.

The Indian military says this year it has stopped a number of militants from crossing over from Pakistan recently.

A defence spokesman in Srinagar, Lieutenant Colonel JS Brar, said Indian troops carried out the latest of such interceptions late on Sunday afternoon.

He said the army was carrying out mopping up operations.

Indian authorities say the number of militants still active in the state is around 500.

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