Page last updated at 13:21 GMT, Tuesday, 5 August 2008 14:21 UK

Protester dies in Kashmir clash

Protesters in Jammu
Protests in Jammu have gone on for nearly a fortnight

A protester has been shot dead by police in the Jammu region of Indian-administered Kashmir, officials say.

The death follows three fatalities on Monday, two of them in the Jammu area.

The Jammu protesters are angry at a state government decision to revoke a move to allot land for a Hindu shrine in the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley.

Meanwhile, police in the valley fired tear gas to disperse Muslims. Worsening relations between Hindus and Muslims in Kashmir are worrying the government.

The BBC's Binoo Joshi in Jammu says that much of the area continues to be under curfew with troops patrolling the streets.

In the latest clashes, officials say that hundreds of protesters tried to set a government office on fire.

"The police tried various ways to disperse them but had to resort to firing later in which 10 protesters were injured, one of them critically," an official told the BBC.

Tuesday's death means that eight people have been killed and many more injured in Jammu in protests over the last fortnight.

Our correspondent says that tensions have been exacerbated over the decision not to include the Amarnath Yatra Sangarsh Samiti (AYSS) - one of the main groups spearheading the protest campaign - in a group of concerned parties that will discuss the controversy over the shrine with the Indian prime minister in Delhi on Wednesday.

Local Muslim leaders in Jammu have blamed "mischievous elements" for spreading what they say are rumours of communal unrest.


On Tuesday, Muslim protesters marched through the Maisuma area of the summer capital, Srinagar, in protest at what they say is communal tension being stirred up in Jammu.

Chanting slogans, they pelted stones at the security forces who responded by firing tear gas shells to break up the demonstration.

Protest rallies have also been seen in the city's Nowhatta and Gojwara areas.

Shops and offices in Srinagar remain shut. One person was killed during Monday's demonstrations, as well as the two in Jammu.

Muslims protest in Srinagar on 4 August 2008
Srinagar has seen violent protests over the land row

The Kashmir valley has witnessed violent protests in recent weeks following the government's decision to grant 40 hectares of forest land to the Amarnath Shrine Board.

Muslims argued the move was aimed at altering the demographic balance in the area.

The state government said the Amarnath Shrine Board needed the land to erect huts and toilets for visiting pilgrims.

But after days of protests by Muslims, in which five people were killed and hundreds wounded, the government rescinded its decision, leading to unrest in the state's Hindu-majority region of Jammu.

The BBC's Chris Morris in Delhi says that the latest trouble comes after years of relative calm.

Our correspondent says Hindus in Jammu and Muslims in Kashmir are more divided than ever.

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