7 injured in fresh clashes in Indian Kashmir

SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Protesters clashed with government troops in several parts of Indian-controlled Kashmir for the second straight day Saturday, defying a curfew imposed to restrain public anger over the killing of four villagers in the disputed region.

Police officials, speaking on customary condition of anonymity, said that the protesters threw rocks, and that police and paramilitary forces used batons and tear gas and fired warning shots of live ammunition to control the crowds. Five protesters and 2 police officers were injured in the clashes.

At least 50 people were injured in similar clashes Friday.

The unrest follows the fatal shootings by government troops Thursday of four villagers who were protesting the alleged desecration of the Muslim holy book by border guards in a remote village in the region.

The protesters accuse the Indian Border Security Force of tearing pages of several copies of the Quran and beating a school caretaker at a religious seminary during a search for militants Wednesday night.

The paramilitary force has denied the charges.

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan, with both countries claiming the region in its entirety.

Anti-India feelings run deep in Indian-held Kashmir, where about a dozen rebel groups have been fighting against Indian rule since 1989. More than 68,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

The rebel groups have largely been suppressed by Indian troops in recent years, and resistance is now principally expressed through street protests.

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