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Curfew lifted in Srinagar but clashes spread

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SRINAGAR: Authorities lifted a curfew in Srinagar Tuesday after 17 days of lockdown, but protesters continued to clash with police in the main city of Indian-administered Kashmir following two weeks of deadly violence.

“There will be no restrictions in any part of district Srinagar today on 26 July,” top administrative official Farooq Ahmad Lone said in a statement.

It was unclear whether the lifting of the curfew was simply a temporary move to allow angry protesters some release, or if the relaxation of restrictions would continue.

Mobile and internet networks remained suspended in Srinagar and across the restive territory, while a curfew was still in force in southern areas, where most of the 60 deaths have occurred.

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Hundreds of angry residents rallied in the city Tuesday to protest against Indian rule, shouting slogans for freedom and clashing with police who fired tear gas canisters to disperse them, a witness said.

Shops, schools and businesses remained shut in the city while vehicles were off the roads.

Separatist leaders opposed to Indian rule of the disputed territory have extended an ongoing strike to Saturday, but have appealed to shopkeepers to open for a few hours each day to allow people to buy essential supplies.

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“We will open shops after 2:00 pm,” Umer Ahmed, a shopkeeper in the old quarter of Srinagar told AFP.

The unrest was triggered by the killing on July 8 of popular young rebel leader Burhan Wani in a gunfight with soldiers.

The wide-scale protests in the region have also left thousands injured.

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