Death toll rises to four after Indian Kashmir clashes

Two more people died in India-administered Kashmir on Wednesday as a result of clashes with security forces the previous day, police said.

The authorities described the security situation as tense as the death toll rose to four after a teenage boy, who was hit by a teargas shell, and a woman succumbed to their injuries.

Two men died on the spot on Tuesday after soldiers reportedly fired to disperse a group of people protesting against the alleged molestation of a schoolgirl by a soldier in the town of Handwara in northern Kashmir.

The police said preliminary investigations indicated there was no such incident of molestation and that it may have been an attempt by locals to create trouble.

Strong anti-India sentiment in Muslim-majority Kashmir often pits protesters against paramilitary and police forces, who are present in large numbers to control the region's secessionist movement.

The army said it regretted the loss of life and the matter was being investigated.

"Anybody found guilty will be dealt with as per law," an army spokesman said.

Jammu and Kashmir state's new Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti also said the troops involved would be given exemplary punishment if found guilty of a crime.

Curfew-like restrictions were put in place in Handwara and adjoining areas as well as parts of the city of Srinagar. Additional police were patrolling the streets.

Thousands had earlier joined a funeral procession for the two men who died on Tuesday.

Kashmiri separatist politicians called for a strike on Wednesday in protest at the killings.

Most businesses and schools were closed and there was little traffic on the main roads.

The disputed Kashmir region is divided in two parts, one administered by India and the other by Pakistan.

Last update: Wed, 13/04/2016 - 16:48
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