SRINAGAR, Feb 20: Police opened fire and lobbed teargas shells to disperse protesters demanding the release of a top pro-independence leader on Friday, injuring at least 26 people.26 injured in Kashmir police firing -DAWN - Top Stories; February 21, 2009
Angry protesters took to the streets in Srinagar, shouting “Down with security forces, release Shabir Shah,” while some threw stones at policemen.
“Twenty-six people were injured in the clashes,” police official Fayaz Ahmad said.
Last year police detained Shah, a senior Kashmiri leader after he led some of the biggest rallies in two decades against Indian occupation of the disputed region.
Shah, dubbed by his supporters ‘Kashmir’s Nelson Mandela’ for the more than 20 years he spent in prisons for opposing Indian occupation, is an executive member of All Parties Hurriyat Conference, main alliance of Kashmiri political parties.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the region since a freedom struggle broke out in 1989. But overall violence involving Indian troops and militants has declined significantly since India and Pakistan began a slow-moving peace process in 2004. New Delhi has put a pause on that dialogue after last November’s Mumbai attacks.--Reuters
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