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Kashmiris protest transfer of land to shrine

June 25, 2008

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SRINAGAR, June 24: Hundreds of Kashmiris attacked government offices and a police post in occupied Kashmir on Tuesday in protest against the killing of a local resident by police during demonstrations against the transfer of forest land to a Hindu shrine, police said.

At least 15 protesters were injured when police beat them up with wooden sticks after they stoned government offices and damaged several vehicles in Ganderbal, said Abdul Majid, the local administrator.

Also on Tuesday, officers fired shots in the air to disperse the demonstrators after they demolished a police post in Srinagar and set a fire engine ablaze, said Afadul Mujtaba, a senior police officer.

The protesters took to the streets after a 37-year-old man who had been shot by police at the rally a day earlier died of his wounds.

Monday’s demonstrations had been to protest the allotment of 99 acres of land by the authorities to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board, a trust running a Hindu shrine. The protesters chanted “We want our land back” and carried placards reading, “We want independence from India.”

Eighteen other people were injured in Monday’s protests.—AP