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Published: Sunday, 8/11/2013

Authorities order curfews in 7 towns in Indian portion of Kashmir to end Hindu-Muslim violence


SRINAGAR, India — Authorities imposed curfews in seven towns in the Indian portion of Kashmir today as sporadic clashes between Hindus and Muslims continued for a third day, officials said.

Police said the death toll in the violence that erupted during Muslim Eid holiday celebrations on Friday rose to three, with authorities recovering a body from the Jammu region on Saturday night.

Shantmanu, a civil administrator who uses one name, said today that there were attempts by activists of various political parties overnight to attack homes and businesses in the Jammu region.

Authorities put the seven towns under an indefinite curfew today.

Kishtwar, the town where Friday’s clashes took place, has been under a strict curfew since the violence there killed two people and injured 24. No fresh violence was reported from the town over the weekend.

Army troops drove through streets today and enforced curfews in parts of Jammu, Rajouri, Reasi, Udhampur, Kathua, Samba and Baderwah towns, Shantmanu said.

“Curfews have been imposed in various places to control the situation,” said Jammu-Kashmir state director-general of police Ashok Prasad.

Meanwhile, authorities denied Arun Jaitley, a top leader of the opposition Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, permission to visit the troubled Kishtwar area.

Jammu-Kashmir state’s top elected official, Omar Abdullah, said politicians would not be allowed to visit Kishtwar or other violence-hit towns until normalcy was restored.

Abdullah accused opposition leaders of trying to aggravate the situation by “seeking to spread this trouble to other parts of Jammu by trying to organize small clashes between Hindus and Muslims.”

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

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan. The countries have fought two wars over its control since they won independence from Britain in 1947.

The Indian portion of Kashmir is the only Muslim majority state in the predominantly Hindu country.

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