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Fresh clashes in occupied Kashmir after 12-year boy killed

SRINAGAR: Thousands clashed with government forces in Srinagar during the funeral of a 12-year boy killed in pellet guns firing by government troops, police said Saturday.

Police and paramilitary troops fired tear gas, pellets and live rounds to disperse the funeral procession of the 12-year-old as his body was carried to Srinagar’s “Martyr’s Graveyard”, a police officer told media on the condition of anonymity.

Residents said the boy was sprayed with pellets in the lawn outside his home, but police claim he was part of anti-India protests that took place Friday.

“We are taking all possible measures so that the protests don’t spread to other areas,” the officer said, referring to the curfew.

The angry mourners were shouting “We want freedom” and “Go Indian, go back” during the procession.

More than 50 people were injured during Friday’s protests in the restive Himalayan region, which has been roiled by deadly violence for nearly four months.

At least 120 people, most of them young protesters, have been killed and more than 12,000 injured in clashes with Indian security forces.

Thousands more have been arrested since the unrest began on July 8, when popular militant leader Burhan Wani was killed by soldiers.

Since then shops, schools and most banks have remained shut and authorities have suspended mobile phone internet services.

Anti-India sentiment runs deep in Kashmir, where rebel groups have fought Indian troops since 1989 for either independence or a merger with Pakistan.

Tension between the nuclear-armed neighbours has soared after a militant attack last month on an Indian army base killed 19 soldiers, with the two armies exchanging heavy fire and mortars across their de facto border in Kashmir almost every day.

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