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'We must protect the citizens of Kashmir,' says Indian ambassador to France

Rakesh Bakshi, AFP | Security personnel stand guard at a roadblock ahead of Muslim's Friday noon prayers in Jammu on August 9, 2019, after the Indian government stripped Jammu and Kashmir of its autonomy.

Five days after India withdrew special rights for Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir state, FRANCE 24 spoke to the Indian Ambassador to France Vinay Mohan Kwatra.

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"We must protect the citizens of Kashmir," Kwatra told FRANCE 24 on Friday, shortly after Indian police used tear gas and pellets to fight back at least 10,000 people protesting in the city of Srinagar against Delhi's decision.

The demonstration soon after Friday prayers was the largest since authorities tightened its grip on the region also claimed by neighbouring Pakistan, cutting off telephone and Internet services and detaining more than 500 political and separatist leaders.

Regional leaders have warned of a backlash in the area, where militants have been fighting Indian rule for nearly 30 years, leading to the deaths of more than 50,000 people.

Click on the player above to watch the interview in full.

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