Police say at least 13 protesters killed in clashes with Indian troops in Kashmir

By Aijaz Hussain, AP
Monday, September 13, 2010

India forces battle Kashmiri protesters; 13 killed

SRINAGAR, India — Indian forces killed 13 protesters and wounded scores of others Monday in confrontations across Kashmir fueled in part by a report that a Quran was desecrated in the United States, a police official said.

The violence, the worst since separatist protests erupted in June, came as Indian officials debated whether to relax harsh security regulations to try to ease tensions in the disputed territory.

Despite a rigid curfew clamped across the region, tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets, throwing rocks, torching government buildings and chanting, “Go India, go back. We want freedom.”

Security forces shot live ammunition at some of the crowds, killing people in at least five different villages, said a police officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with media.

The protests Monday were inflamed by reports on the Iranian state-run channel Press TV that the Quran was desecrated over the weekend in the United States.

U.S. Ambassador Timothy Roemer said the U.S. government was “dismayed” by reports of the rioting and appealed for calm.

He also condemned any Quran desecration as “disrespectful, intolerant, divisive and unrepresentative of American values. The deliberate destruction of any holy book is an abhorrent act.”

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