Protests in Kashmir over police firing

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Srinagar, Dec 16 (UNI) Protests continued for the second consecutive day today at Magam in central Kashmir district of Badgam, where one person was killed and 15 others were wounded in police firing yesterday.

In a statement here, a police spokesman said 20 policemen were wounded while trying to control and pacify the protestors at Magam, a township situated at 30 km west of Srinagar.

He said some civilians were also reported to be wounded in the clashes with police personnel.

''Police exhibited maximum restrain and resorted to mild use of force only while quelling the protests today,'' the spokesman said.

Thousands of people at Magam yesterday protested a Jammu and Kashmir government decision to reject their demand to set up a new college in their town. The Jammu and Kashmir government has decided to set up 18 new colleges across the state.

Chanting anti-government slogans, the demonstrators set fire to a government bus and a police vehicle and threw stones at police officers and security forces who tried to disperse them.

The police later opened fire, killing a 20-year-old student and wounding 15 others. The firing sparked off protests today as well.

Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Yasin Malik and moderate Hurriyat Conference leader Nayeem Ahmad Khan visited the area and addressed the protesters.

The separatists strongly denounced the police firing on unarmed civilians. They later staged a sit-in at Magam Chowk.

Rival JKLF chief Javed Ahmed Mir and Democratic Freedom Party president Shabir Ahmad Shah along with dozens of supporters were taken into custody at Narabal near here to prevent them from proceeding to Magam to express sympathy with the bereaved families.


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