At least 29 people were injured in Indian Kashmir on Saturday when thousands of protesters clashed with police following a fire at a Muslim shrine.
Officials say the fire that broke out at the Jena Sahib Shrine in
Kashmir's main town of Srinagar was accidental and caused by a short
circuit. But Muslim residents gathered outside the burning mosque
claiming paramilitary forces and police started the fire.
The mob threw stones and snatched rifles from security officials,
prompting police to fire into the air and set off tear gas to disperse
the crowd. At least three security personnel and six firemen were among
Police say all the holy relics in the shrine are safe and were not damaged in the fire.
Meanwhile, shops remained closed in Srinagar on Saturday after
separatists called a strike to protest the use of excessive force by
police during a march that injured a separatist leader.
Shabir Shah was wounded Friday while leading a procession from a Srinagar mosque.
Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan, but claimed in full by
both. Islamic separatist groups have been fighting for independence
from India or a merger with Pakistan since 1989.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed in insurgency-related violence.