Curfew in Kashmir relaxed

Authorities relaxed a curfew in most parts of Indian Kashmir as street clashes between troops and anti-India protesters ebbed in the troubled Himalayan region.

Demonstrations against Indian rule grew increasingly strident in recent weeks and government forces were accused of killing at least 11 people during the protests.

An eight-day curfew was lifted today in Sopore, one of the worst-hit towns in the recent street violence, said Farooq Ahmed, a senior police officer.

The curfew was imposed on June 25 when violence broke out after two people were killed when troops opened fire on a crowd that gathered to remove the bodies of two suspected rebels killed in fighting with government forces.

Restrictions remained in place in downtown Srinagar, the main city in India’s Jammu and Kashmir state, and were extended to the northern towns of Kupwara and Trehgam following clashes between troops and protesters, Mr Ahmed said.

Government troops continued to patrol the streets.

Kashmir was divided between India and Pakistan after independence from Britain and is claimed by both nuclear-armed rivals. More than 68,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in the conflict since 1989.

While anti-India demonstrations are frequent in the region, the latest street violence erupted after a police investigation in June found Indian soldiers killed three Kashmiri civilians in a staged gunbattle, and then said their victims were militants to claim a reward. The army responded by suspending two officers.

Separatist politicians and armed insurgents reject Indian sovereignty over Kashmir and want to carve out a separate homeland or merge the Himalayan region with Pakistan.

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