Indian Kashmir shuts down over election killing

Indian Kashmir shuts down over election killing

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SRINAGAR: Indian Kashmir largely shut down on Thursday over the shooting death of a man during protests one day earlier against the country\'s ongoing mammoth election, residents and police said.

Schools, shops and other businesses were mostly closed in the Kashmir Valley after separatist leaders opposed to Indian rule of the region called for a general strike over the shooting by security forces.

Authorities also imposed a curfew in the main city of Srinagar in the wake of the shooting, which occurred when police fired on protesters during clashes after polling ended on Wednesday in the latest leg of the election.

One person was killed and two others were critically injured in the incident in Srinagar\'s old town, police have said.

“No one is being allowed to move out or even peer out of the windows,” Abdul Rashid, a resident of the old town, told AFP over the phone from his home of the curfew.

The University of Kashmir indefinitely postponed examinations scheduled for Thursday, and tensions remained high in Srinagar and the wider valley, where a separatist insurgency has long been waged.

In the northern town of Bandipore, police used tear smoke and batons against scores of protesters who were shouting anti-India slogans, a police officer told AFP on condition of anonymity.

“Restrictions have also been imposed in Baramulla (a major town in northern Kashmir) and the shutdown is peaceful across the valley today,” inspector general of police Abdul Gani Mir told AFP.

Voter turnout was low on Wednesday when the central Kashmir constituency of Srinagar went to the polls. Separatists have called for a boycott of the election and militants have threatened violence against those voting.

Elections end on May 12 with results four days later when Hindu nationalist hardliner Narendra Modi and his opposition party are expected to vault to power over the ruling Congress party.

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan, with both claiming the disputed Muslim-majority territory in full since 1947 when the two countries gained independence from Britain.

The insurgency has left tens of thousands, mostly civilians dead since 1989.

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