Police: Indian forces fire at protesters, wound 2 in Kashmir

SRINAGAR, India, Aug 7 (AP) — Government forces on Friday fired tear gas and bullets at anti-India protesters who broke from a funeral procession of a suspected insurgent killed in the Indian portion of Kashmir.

Police said at least two people suffered serious bullet wounds in the violence as thousands of protesters waved Pakistani flags and chanted "Down with India" and "We want freedom."

The protesters hurled stones at the government forces in at least at three places in the village of Kakpora, 35 kilometers (20 miles) south of Srinagar, the main city in the portion of Kashmir under India's control. Indian forces had killed the suspected rebel on Thursday, senior police officer Nitesh Kumar said.

Rebel groups have been fighting against India in Kashmir since 1989, and more than 68,000 people have been killed in the fighting and subsequent military crackdown.

The latest clashes erupted Thursday as Indian police and paramilitary soldiers cordoned off the village following intelligence that some insurgents were hiding there.

A gunbattle between the two sides killed Talib Shah, a local commander of militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, said Kumar. Two other militants were believed to have fled.

Anti-India protests resumed Friday after government forces handed over Shah's body to his relatives. Shah was later buried in the village graveyard.

Meanwhile, a Pakistani security official rejected as "totally baseless" Indian media reports that an insurgent arrested in the Indian portion of Kashmir on Wednesday was a Pakistani national. He spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to talk to reporters.

Pakistan's foreign ministry spokesman Qazi Khalilullah said in Islamabad on Thursday: "We expect Indian authorities to share necessary information about him with us to enable verification of his national status."

India's Home Minister Rajnath Singh said in Parliament that the arrested man told the Indian investigators that he was from Faisalabad in Pakistan.

India and Pakistan have fought two wars over their competing claims to Kashmir and each administers part of it. Many Kashmiris want independence from India or a merger with Pakistan.




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