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Stone-pelting protesters defy curfew in Indian Kashmir

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Protesters hurled stones at security forces in insurgency-hit Indian Kashmir on Wednesday, after authorities imposed a new curfew in a bid to quell unrest over the killing of a student by soldiers.

The university student was killed on Tuesday when soldiers opened fire at demonstrators demanding an inquiry into the death of a Kashmiri research scholar in southern India late last week.

"Parts of Srinagar and four towns are under curfew and there's little movement in other areas because of a (protest) shutdown," Kashmir's police chief Shiv Murari Sahai told AFP.

Scores of people defied the curfew in the main city of Srinagar, pelting stones at security forces in protest against the student's death.

Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah voiced anger over the death of the university student, Tahir Ahmed Sofi, in the state legislature.

He told lawmakers it was frustrating "no action could be taken" against the soldiers involved in the student's death due to emergency powers in effect in Kashmir allowing the army the right to shoot-to kill.

Rights groups have long demanded that the Indian government repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act imposed to tackle the more than two-decade-old uprising which has claimed tens of thousands of lives.

The Indian army has announced an internal inquiry into the student's killing by the 46 Rashtriya Rifles, a counter-insurgency unit.

The student was a bystander in Tuesday's demonstration calling for an impartial probe into the death of the Kashmiri scholar who was found hanged in a Hyderabad hostel.

Hyderabad police said Mudasir Malla committed suicide but Kashmir's main separatist alliance said his body bore marks of violence.

The Himalayan region has been on edge since Mohammed Afzal Guru, a Kashmiri separatist, was executed last month for his involvement in a deadly 2001 attack on India's parliament. Guru had maintained his innocence.

Nuclear-armed India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir. Each administers part of the territory but claims the entire area.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130306/stone-pelting-protesters-defy-curfew-indian-kashmir