Thousands of angry protesters in the Kashmir region took to the streets today after government forces were said to have killed villagers at an earlier protest.
Demonstrators in Srinagar, an Indian-administered region of Kashmir, expressed their fury at the fatal shooting of at least four people and the wounding of around 40 others by police.
Those killed were protesting the alleged desecration of the Koran by Indian security forces.
The inspector general of the Border Security Force (BSF), Rajive Krishan, claims the protesters were killed in an attempt to disperse a violent mob trying to get into a post where arms and ammunition were stored.
“Our men used the force for self defence,” Krishan said.
The news of the deaths and injuries was met by anger by groups of demonstrators around Kashmir.
Protesters threw stones and burnt tyres while chanting anti-government slogans.
“We are protesting against the indiscriminate firing at protesters by the BSF at Gool Ramban, in which many young men and youths were martyred,” said Javaid Ahmad Mir, a senior leader of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), a Kashmiri nationalist organisation.
Though Kashmir has recently been more peaceful since the peak of violence in the 1990s, India continues to face opposition to its rule in the divided Muslim-majority region.
There are fears the tension could trigger widespread protests in the coming days.