India

Two dead in Indian-administered Kashmir clashes amid Eid curfew

Customers look at the offers at an open market stand in Lal Chowk, the central hub of business activity in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian Kashmir, 12 September 2016. Image copyright EPA
Image caption Markets on the eve of Eid did not see the usual rush of shoppers

Two protesters have been killed in clashes with security forces in Indian-administered Kashmir amid a rare Eid curfew in the disputed region.

At least 60 others were injured in the violence as security personnel blocked roads to several important mosques.

Violence has been reported in 10 areas of the region. Mobile and data services have been stopped.

Officials said the Eid shutdown was to stop plans by separatists to march to the UN observers' office in Srinagar.

The Press Trust of India agency added that Eid congregations were not held at the important Idgah and Hazratbal shrines for the first time in 26 years.

Prayers were offered at neighbourhood mosques instead.

Kashmiri media reported that markets on the eve of Eid saw far fewer shoppers than in previous years.

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In the latest violence, security forces fired tear gas and pellet guns at protesters in the Bandipora area of northern Kashmir and Shopian in the south, as well as in Srinagar, a police officer told the AP news agency.

Indian media reported that a 19-year-old was killed after being hit by a tear gas shell in Bandipora. Another protester died of pellet gun injuries in Shopian.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Curfew on Eid is extremely rare in Indian-administered Kashmir

Separatist groups have called for an "austere Eid" to mourn the death of more than 70 civilians in protests since 9 July.

The demonstrations were sparked by the killing of a popular militant leader, Burhan Wani, 22, in a gunfight with the army.

Disputed Kashmir is claimed in its entirety by both India and Pakistan and has been a flashpoint for more than 60 years, causing two wars between the neighbours.

Within the disputed Muslim-majority territory, some militant groups have taken up arms to fight for independence from Indian rule or a merger with Pakistan.