World

Protests mount in Indian Kashmir clampdown

SRINAGAR, INDIA Kashmir has seen an average of nearly 20 protests a day against Indian rule over the last six weeks despite a security lockdown to quell unrest, a senior government source said.

Tensions remain high in the disputed Himalayan region after New Delhi's controversial decision last month to revoke the territory's decades-old semi-autonomous status.

Despite a curfew, movement restrictions and the severe curtailment of Internet and mobile phone services, public demonstrations against India - mostly in the largest city Srinagar - have been constant, the source told AFP late on Saturday.

Altogether there have been 722 protests since August 5, with Baramulla district in the northwest and Pulwama in the south the biggest hot spots after Srinagar, the source said.

Since that date, nearly 200 civilians and 415 security force members have been hurt, according to the source.

Ninety-five of the civilians were injured in the last two weeks, the official said.

So far more than 4,100 people - including 170 local political leaders - have been detained across the valley, with 3,000 released in the past two weeks, the official said.

It was unclear whether any politicians were among those released.

Indian authorities have so far insisted that outbreaks of violence have been minimal, and that only five civilians have died since the clampdown started.

The relatives of four of those killed told AFP they believed the security forces were responsible for their deaths. - AFP

WORLD