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Indian troops enforce curfew in Kashmir
Agence France Presse - August 21, 2010
Tensions have been threatening to boil over during two months of protests with 62 protesters and bystanders – some as young as nine – killed in the Muslim-majority region where anti-India feelings run deep.
Security forces sealed off neighbourhoods with barbed wire and put up road blockades on Saturday in Srinagar, the main city of Indian Kashmir where an insurgency against New Delhi's rule has been underway for two decades.
"Much of Srinagar and three other towns are under curfew," a police officer told AFP, asking not to be named.
The scenic region has been under rolling curfews to contain angry protests that have been fuelled by the deaths of civilians since June 11 when a teenage student was killed by a police teargas shell in Srinagar.
On Friday, Indian police began a murder probe after a teenager was shot dead by paramilitary forces in northern Sopore town.
The death sparked further street protests in which a second man died in southern Bijbehara town.
The rare move by the police to begin an investigation immediately comes amid accusations by locals and human rights groups that security personnel have been using indiscriminate and disproportionate force.
The two deaths on Friday sparked protests all across the region and confronted India with one of its biggest internal crises.
Militant violence has declined sharply in the region, once known as "Switzerland of the East", but popular protests against New Delhi's rule have intensified over the past two years.
Protesters opposed to Indian rule in Kashmir have clashed with police on an almost daily basis during the last two months, leading to the worst violence in the region in more than two years.
Each killing has sparked a fresh cycle of violence, and the state administration has responded by imposing curfews as separatists called for general strikes, effectively shutting down the region.