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Muslims Protest in Indian Kashmir

  • VOA News

Tens of thousands of Muslims took to the streets of Indian Kashmir on Saturday to mourn the death of a separatist leader.

Protesters traveled from Kashmir's main town Srinagar to the hometown (Pampur) of Sheikh Abdul Aziz who, along with 21 others, was killed by police this week in street battles.

Police kept their distance from today's demonstration to avoid triggering another clash.

On Friday, thousands of Muslims protested India's rule over Kashmir after authorities lifted a curfew following days of violent demonstrations.

At least 500 people were wounded in clashes this week between Muslim separatists and Indian security forces.

The unrest was triggered by the state government's June decision to donate land to a Hindu shrine. Muslims staged mass protests, forcing the government to revoke the transfer, which angered Hindus who sparked fresh protests this week with a roadblock.

In India's capital, New Delhi, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called Friday for an end to the violence, saying divisive politics will lead the country nowhere. He said it is his conviction that all issues can be resolved only through dialogue and peaceful means.

Kashmir is divided between Pakistan and India, and claimed by both. The dispute has led to two of the three wars between the nuclear-armed rivals. Islamic separatists have been fighting for Kashmir's independence from India, or for the region's merger with Muslim-dominated Pakistan.

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