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India deploys more troops in Kashmir

28 August 2010 15:02

The New Delhi government has deployed more police and paramilitary troops in Indian-administered Kashmir to prevent demonstrations against the Indian rule.

The Indian troops erected iron gates and barbed wire barriers to seal off flash points of demonstrations in the Muslim-majority region.

The tightening of security comes after two key separatist leaders called on people to march to a football field in the summer capital of Srinagar on Saturday.

Syed Ali Geelani — who heads a wing of the region’s separatist alliance — and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq — a Muslim cleric and an influential moderate separatist — have led thousands of Srinagar residents to protest against Indian rule over the past weeks.

Indian authorities have put two pro-independence leaders under house arrest.

Meanwhile, despite a strict curfew and the deployment of additional troops, people took to the streets for a rally.

Troops responded by enforcing a strict curfew and imposing security restrictions in major towns with a regional police official saying that “the step has been taken to prevent any law and order problems.”

Earlier on Thursday, the government issued a statement, saying that more than a dozen senior security officers were replaced in an attempt to restore calm in the region.

The shake-up came hours after Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urged a change in police tactics in the region.

The Indian-administered Kashmir has been rocked by frequent protest rallies since June. The demonstrations began after government forces killed a teenager on June 11.

At least 64 people have lost their lives during two months of unrest. Thousands have been killed in volatile Indian-administered Kashmir since 1989.

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