August 12, 2006

Hundreds protest army killings in Indian Kashmir

SRINAGAR, India (Reuters) - Hundreds of people took to the
streets of Kashmir on Saturday shouting anti-India slogans
after troops killed two civilians believing they were
separatist militants.

More than 1,500 Kashmiri Muslims gathered near Dragmula
township, 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of Srinagar, Jammu and
Kashmir's summer capital, after villagers found the
bullet-ridden bodies of a woman and a man in a nearby forest.

The Indian army said they regretted the incident and had
ordered an inquiry into the shootings.

"The two civilians were walking in a forest area where
soldiers had laid an ambush. The troops opened fire when the
two villagers ran away after being challenged," Hemant Joneja,
an army spokesman said.

Indian authorities deny systematic violations of human
rights in Kashmir and say they investigate all such reports and
punish those found guilty.

The protests come days ahead of India's Independence Day
celebrations on August 15, which militants have targeted in the

India and Pakistan have fought two wars over the region
where more than 45,000 people have been killed in the
separatist revolt since 1989.