Tear gas fired as Muslims protest Hindu trade blockade
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- ℹ️ Description
2. Wide of protester marching towards police holding Islamic flag; police charging on protesters
3. Wide of police firing tear gas shell
4. Wide of protester running for cover after tear gas shell explodes
5. Protesters pelting stones, police firing tear gas, ambulance attempting to get through
6. Various of protesters pelting stones
7. Wide of protesters pelting stones on a police vehicle
8. Police tear gas vehicle firing tear gas shell
9. Various of policemen firing rubber bullets
10. Various of protestors marching; chanting pro-freedom slogans
Indian government forces on Monday fired warning shots in the air and tear gas to disperse thousands of Kashmiri Muslims in Srinigar who started a march to the Pakistan-administered portion of the divided territory to protest a Hindu trade blockade, police said.
Thousands of people in nearly half a dozen groups defied steel barricades set up by police and began marching toward the cease-fire line dividing Kashmir between India and Pakistan to protest the blockade and collect essential supplies.
AP Television showed police firing tear gas shells and charging the demonstrators who were pelting rocks towards them.
Similar clashes also occurred in Sopore, a town nearly 30 miles (50 kilometres) north of Srinagar, the main city in Jammu-Kashmir state.
An alliance of non-violent groups seeking independence for the Indian portion of Muslim-majority Kashmir or its merger with Pakistan called the
demonstrations to protest a blockade by Hindus of a key highway linking the Kashmir Valley with the rest of India which has stranded hundreds of trucks carrying food and supplies in and out of the region.
Indian authorities placed two key separatist leaders under house arrest on Sunday to prevent them from leading the demonstrations.
Police and paramilitary soldiers also seized dozens of fruit-laden trucks and deflated the tires of other vehicles in Srinagar, Sopore and Shopian
which the protesters had planned to drive during the procession, traders said.
Traders have warned that Kashmir faces shortages of food and medicine because of the highway blockade. They complain that hundreds of truckloads of Kashmiri fruit are spoiling because they cannot be delivered.
The protests are the latest development in a political crisis that began in June with a dispute over land near a Hindu shrine and has boiled over into
deadly rioting and rising animosity between Muslims and Hindus.
Kashmir's Hindu minority was angered when the state government reversed a June decision to give 99 acres (40 hectares) of land to a Hindu trust to build facilities for pilgrims near the shrine.
Muslims complained that the gift of land would alter the religious balance in the region.
Protests by both sides escalated into 47 days of rioting that left 12 people dead, transforming the dispute into one of the worst political crises
to hit a region plagued by years of brutal fighting between separatist rebels and Indian security forces.