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Second day of curfew to curb Kashmir separatists rally

©

Latest update : 2008-08-25

A second day of strict curfew has been imposed in Indian Kashmir to curb a separatists rally in the valley. Tensions remained high after separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq were arrested in overnight raids.

Indian security forces detained two top Muslim leaders in Kashmir and enforced a strict curfew for a second day to prevent separatists from holding a pro-independence rally.
  
Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who head the hardline and moderate factions of the region's main separatist alliance, were detained in overnight raids on their residences in the summer capital Srinagar, police said.
  
The two have been leading a series of large demonstrations over the past two weeks, reviving calls for independence from Indian rule in the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley.
  
They had planned to hold a rally on Monday in Srinagar's Red Square, where India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru promised in 1948 that Kashmiris would get the right to self-determination through a referendum -- a pledge that has not been upheld.
  
"The two have been arrested to prevent today's rally," a police officer who asked not to be named told AFP.
  
He said the curfew was being kept in force in Srinagar and other Muslim-majority towns for a second straight day on Monday.
  
Policemen were urging the residents through loud-speakers not to defy curfew restrictions after some separatist leaders said they will try to reach Lal Chowk.
  
Thousands of troops have been deployed at and around the venue.
  
The situation grew even tense on Sunday evening, when a Muslim man was shot dead by the police after he defied the curfew.
  
Some 50 people were hurt across Kashmir in police actions when they failed to heed the curfew and held small anti-India demonstrations on Sunday.
  
The recent troubles have been triggered by a state government plan announced in June to donate land to a Hindu shrine trust in the Kashmir valley. The decision was later reversed after massive Muslim protests, angering Hindus.
  
Since June, at least 32 Muslims and three Hindus have died from police shooting on protesters and in other violence in the Kashmir valley and the mainly Hindu area of Jammu.

Date created : 2008-08-25

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