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Teenager killed in anti-Israeli protests in India-held Kashmir

Updated July 19, 2014

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— File Photo
— File Photo

SRINAGAR: Police say a teenage boy was killed when government forces in Indian-controlled Kashmir fired on protesters rallying against Israel's invasion of Gaza.

The boy, a ninth-class student, was killed in the village of Khudwani, 60 kilometres (40 miles) south of Srinagar, the main city of the disputed Muslim-majority region of Kashmir.

The Indian police officer said the Kashmri youngster, identified as Suhail Ahmad Lone, was believed to be around 14 or 15.

“The boy died in (police) firing on anti-Israel protesters who were also angry about injuries suffered by other protesters during earlier demonstrations,” a senior police officer told AFP.

A police statement called the killing “unfortunate”.

The youngster's death marked the first fatality in a string of demonstrations across the Himalayan territory that have been staged against the Israeli military campaign.

More protests erupted following the boy's death and spread to at least two nearby towns where police used tear gas to disperse the demonstrators.

Kashmir has witnessed massive pro-Palestinian protests almost every day since Israel launched its military campaign in Gaza. Protesters have burned Israeli flags and clashed with government forces at several places in the region.

The protests have been occurring on an almost daily basis in the Kashmir valley which has been at the centre of a quarter-century revolt against Indian rule.

The demonstrators, some holding placards with “Save Gaza” written on them, chanted “Down with Israel”, “Down with America” and hurled stones at government forces.

Indian government forces are seeking to prevent the protests from spreading in the volatile region.

About a dozen rebel groups have been fighting Indian forces since 1989 for independence or merger of Kashmir with Pakistan, which also claims the territory.

The fighting, and India's tense relations with nuclear-armed rival Pakistan, have made Kashmir one of the most militarised zones in the world and has left tens of thousands, mostly civilians dead – AP/AFP