February 5, 2011 / 10:34 AM / 7 years ago

Protest over killing sparks fear of unrest in Indian Kashmir

SRINAGAR, India (Reuters) - Thousands of people protested in Indian Kashmir on Saturday against the killing of a student by soldiers, raising fear of a revival of anti-Indian unrest in which more than 100 people were killed last year.

The army said it killed the 22-year-old student, Manzoor Magray, when he walked into an ambush laid by soldiers for separatist militants and tried to run away when challenged.

Indian forces have been fighting a separatist revolt in Kashmir since 1989. The government says nearly 50,000 people have been killed but rights groups say the toll is higher.

Relatives of Magray said the young man had been killed in "cold blood" and about 2,500 people marched in a procession with his body borne aloft, blocking roads in Handwara town, in Kupwara district, witnesses and a Reuters photographer said.

Anti-India sentiment runs deep in Muslim-majority Kashmir and killings by the security forces often spark protests.

More than 100 people were killed in anti-Indian unrest last year that began as a protest over the killing of a 17-year-old student.

Last year's unrest eased off after official promises of a political solution of grievances in the Himalayan region.

Renewed strife would put the central government under further pressure as it tries to fend off opposition attacks over corruption and public anger over high inflation.

Kashmir is divided between India and Muslim Pakistan, which both claim it in full. They have twice gone to war over Kashmir.

Reporting by Sheikh Mushtaq; Editing by Krittivas Mukherjee and Robert Birsel

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