Planned march to mark "Martyrs' Day" in Kashmir

A planned march in Indian Kashmir, to mark "Martyrs' Day", heightened tension again, on Tuesday.


Afp July 13, 2010

A planned march in Indian Kashmir, to mark "Martyrs' Day", heightened tension again, on Tuesday, after security forces appeared to have finally stemmed weeks of deadly street protests.

Kashmiris called for a third day of strikes on Tuesday and had planned a rally in downtown Srinagar, summer capital of the Muslim majority region, to remember 21 Kashmiris slain in 1931 by the former Hindu ruler of Kashmir.

Police said no rally would be allowed. "We have locked down parts of Srinagar to ensure there is no violence," a police officer Pervez Ahmed said. Security forces have been struggling to control demonstrations in the Kashmir valley after being accused of killing 15 civilians, many of them teenagers,  since the first death, of a 17 year old, on June 11.

July 13 is marked in Indian Kashmir as the day former Maharaja Hari Singh used force in 1931 to quell protests against his rule, resulting in the death of 21 protesters.  Kashmiris mark the day as the start of their struggle, while pro India politicians see it as the start of a democratic era.

Amid tight security, Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and other pro India leaders prayed at the graveyard in Indian Kashmir summer capital Srinagar, where the 21 lay buried.

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