August 14, 2010 / 11:47 AM / 7 years ago

India re-imposes curfew in Kashmir after deaths

By Sheikh Mushtaq

SRINAGAR, India, Aug 14 (Reuters) - India re-imposed a curfew in Kashmir on Saturday and deployed thousands of police, officials said, a day after four protesters died in fresh anti-India demonstrations that have so far killed 55 people.

The two-month-old protests, the angriest since a separatist revolt against New Delhi broke out in Kashmir in 1989, have shown no sign of abeting despite calls for calm by public figures, including separatist leaders.

The latest violence started with the death of a teenage student in early June. The region has been locked down for weeks, and security forces have daily battled stone-throwing men, women and children on the streets who have defied curfews to attack and set fire to security camps and police stations.

Most deaths have been from police firing into protesters.

Authorities had lifted the curfew on Thursday, the start of Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic calendar when Muslims the world over fast from daylight until sunset.

But fresh violence on Friday when four protesters were shot dead by police have dashed any government hopes of calm during the Ramadan month. In 2008, the biggest anti-India protests in two decades had died down just before the Ramadan.

"We decided to relax curfew during Ramadan but after violence (on Friday) and to maintain law and order we have again imposed (curfew)," M. A. Kakroo, a senior official said.

A radicalised young generation, which has known nothing but violence and strife, is driving the present round of protests, and analysts say mass protests rather than militant attacks to promote the cause of independence may prove a huge political challenge for the Indian government. (Editing by Krittivas Mukherjee and Sanjeev Miglani)

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