Three killed as police open fire on crowd in Kashmir

SRINAGAR, India Sat Sep 18, 2010 2:57pm EDT

Women shout anti-India slogans during the funeral of a Kashmiri youth, Fayaz Ahmad, in Srinagar September 18, 2010. REUTERS/Danish Ismail

Women shout anti-India slogans during the funeral of a Kashmiri youth, Fayaz Ahmad, in Srinagar September 18, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Danish Ismail

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SRINAGAR, India (Reuters) - Three people were killed in Indian Kashmir on Saturday when police opened fire on a crowd defying a curfew to attend the funeral of a protester who died during an anti-Indian rally, police and witnesses said.

At least 25 people, including 12 police, were wounded in the clashes on Saturday, police said.

Police officials said Saturday's violence broke out after an angry crowd tried to attack the house of a pro-Indian politician in south Kashmir, forcing them to open fire.

Witnesses disputed the police account.

"It was an unprovoked firing. We were peacefully shouting slogans and carrying the body for the funeral," Sahil Bhat, a witness told Reuters by telephone phone.

Two more protesters injured during clashes on Friday died in hospital.

Earlier this week Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, facing with criticism that he was not taking the protests seriously, held a meeting with his allies and opposition parties. The only decision taken was to send a delegation of politicians to Kashmir.

A cycle of strikes and protests has crippled normal life in the valley and most parts of Kashmir, the only Muslim-majority state in mostly Hindu India, has been under curfew for the last three months.

On Saturday, the authorities relaxed the curfew in a few parts of Srinagar, Kashmir's summer capital.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed since the scenic Himalayan rebellion erupted two decades ago, but militancy has weakened over the years.

At least 100 people have so far been killed in the three-month old anti-India protests, the biggest since an armed revolt against New Delhi's rule that broke out in 1989.

(Editing by Mayank Bhardwaj and Alex Richardson)

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