Fresh protests flared in Indian-controlled Kashmir on Wednesday following the overnight killings of two civilians by government forces amid a nearly monthlong security lockdown and protest strikes.
Police said thousands of people held street protests, chanting anti-India slogans. Demonstrations were held in the Pampore area and a neighbourhood in Srinagar, the region's main city.
Locals say government forces fired tear gas in Pampore after thousands of people offered funeral prayers for a young man, one of the two civilians killed overnight.
He was killed when police opened gunfire after being stopped at a roadblock set up by anti-India protesters late Tuesday. A young man who was with him was critically wounded and later hospitalised in Srinagar, a police officer said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to talk to reporters.
The other person killed overnight was a private guard at a bank in Srinagar. His family blamed paramilitary soldiers for fatally shooting him. No other details were available.
Over the past month, the Indian-held portion of Kashmir has seen its largest protests against Indian rule in recent years. The protests started after Indian troops killed a rebel commander July 8. At least 50 civilians and a policeman have been killed in the protest-related violence.
Meanwhile, shops, businesses and schools remained closed for the 26th straight day on Wednesday due to a strike called by separatists demanding an end to Indian rule in the region.
Kashmir, a predominantly Muslim region, is divided between India and Pakistan, but both claim it in its entirety. Most people in the Indian-held part resent the presence of hundreds of thousands of Indian troops.
More than 68,000 people have been killed in the armed uprising against Indian rule and the subsequent Indian military crackdown.
Source: Associated Press