Page last updated at 17:28 GMT, Friday, 11 April 2008 18:28 UK

Protest over graves in Kashmir

By Altaf Hussain
BBC News, Srinagar

Kashmiri protesters throw stones at policemen during a protest in Srinagar
The protests follow the reported discovery of 940 graves last month

Police in Indian-administered Kashmir have lobbed teargas shells to break up a violent demonstration in Srinagar.

The demonstrators were protesting over the issue of nearly 1,000 unmarked graves discovered in border areas of the valley.

Several people, including three members of the media, have been injured in the clashes.

The incident began with a procession by a group of women from the Jama Masjid, or Grand Mosque, in the city.

They demanded an investigation into the whereabouts of the people who have disappeared after, it is alleged, they were arrested by the Indian security forces.

The procession was led by the mother of a prominent militant, Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar.

Prayer meeting

Her son-in-law Sirajuddin has been missing since his arrest, allegedly by the paramilitary border security force (BSF) in 1992.

The main separatist alliance, the All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) organised namaz-e-janaza, or funeral prayers, on Friday for the people buried in unmarked graves.

The biggest prayer meeting was held in the Jama Masjid.

The APHC Chairman Umar Farooq also attended the prayers. 

He said the discovery of the unmarked graves has caused concern among parents about the well-being of the disappeared persons.

He appealed to what he called "the civilised world" to put pressure on the Indian government to inform next-of-kin about the whereabouts of those who have disappeared.

He said the unmarked graves were an example of the kind of atrocities the Indian government had perpetrated in Kashmir.

"Such examples are hard to find even in the times of Halaku and Changez Khan," he said.

Amnesty International and other human rights organisations have urged the Indian government to launch urgent and impartial investigations into the unmarked graves.

Pakistan has also expressed its concern and demanded an investigation.

But the Indian army has said the reported discovery of the unmarked graves is an attempt to malign the military.

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