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Death toll 100 in Kashmir demonstrations

Sept. 18, 2010 at 8:55 AM

KASHMIR, India, Sept. 18 (UPI) -- The civilian death toll in anti-India demonstrations in Kashmir has reached 100 with the killing of a man in Anantnag, officials said Saturday.

At least one person was killed when police fired at demonstrators who were throwing rocks after they retrieved the body of a man from a river, Pakistan's English-language Dawn News reported.

Police have dealt with pro-independence demonstrations in the mostly Muslim region for months, and they turned angry after police killed a 17-year-old student in June. Thousands of people participated in Saturday's events, the report said.

The body pulled from the water was a man who drowned earlier in the week after being chased into the river by police.

"Security forces had to open fire to quell the violent demonstration," after the man's body was retrieved, an unnamed police officer said.

The 100 people killed in demonstrations since June include children and bystanders; most died after being fired on by security forces who were being pelted with stones, concrete and pieces of wood, the report said. One police officer was killed.

Friday, the London-based human rights group Amnesty International asked Indian authorities to order security forces not to use firearms against demonstrators.

"There is an urgent need for the government to act … security forces should use the minimum force necessary to defend themselves," the group said in a statement.

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