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India imposes curfews in Kashmir after procession clashes

SRINAGAR India yesterday imposed curfews in several parts of the contested Kashmir region after clashes between security forces and Shi'ite Muslims taking part in a procession.

At least 12 locals and six troops were injured on Saturday evening, officials told Reuters, as the worshippers in the traditional mourning procession of Muharram clashed with troops trying to stop it.

Troops used tear gas and pellet guns on the crowd after being pelted by stones, an Indian official who declined to be named told Reuters.

Organisers had ignored an advisory by security forces to call off the procession, one in a series held at this time of year, and the clashes continued till late into the night. A spokesman for India's Interior Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

"Reasonable restrictions are necessary for peace and protection of life," India's national security adviser had said on Saturday, while also accusing Islamabad of trying to stoke violence in the region.

Kashmir, a mountainous Muslim-majority region claimed by both India and Pakistan, has been the site of frequent altercations between security forces and locals protesting against New Delhi's decision on Aug 5 to revoke special rights for the portion of the territory that it controls.

The most recent clashes occurred in Rainawari and Badgam, two Shi'ite majority areas of Srinagar, Indian-administered Kashmir's main city.- REUTERS

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