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Indian police firing at students in IHK

25 April, 2017

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SRINAGAR: Police fired into a crowd of stone-throwing students in Indian-held Kashmir (IHK) on Monday, as violence in the restive region intensified.

Hundreds of student protesters shouting "We want freedom" and "Go India, go back" fought with government forces after taking to the streets of Srinagar.

An AFP reporter saw police fire live rounds as well as tear gas and water cannon to disperse protesters, as shoppers fled the violence and retailers shut down for the day.

The clashes broke out as colleges in the city reopened following skirmishes last week between students and government forces. "A few students were detained. Three photojournalists and eight policemen were injured with stones," a police officer told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Nearly 100 students and around the same number of police were wounded in last week's disturbances, which prompted authorities to temporarily shut down schools and universities.

The students were angered by a raid earlier this month on a college in the southern district of Pulwama in which police attempted to detain the alleged ring-leaders of earlier protests.

"In a separate incident, an official with the ruling People's Democratic Party was shot by unknown attackers, later dying of his injuries," a police officer told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Indian-held Kashmir has been reeling under violence since April 9, when eight people were killed by police and paramilitaries during elections.

On Monday, the leader of Jammu and Kashmir, held talks with India Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address the developing crisis.

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti called for dialogue and an end to the violence. "The first priority is to control the situation, because talks cannot take place amid bullets and stone-pelting," she told reporters outside Modi's residence after the meeting.

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