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Protesters set ablaze army-run school in Indian-controlled Kashmir


20:16, July 01, 2013

SRINAGAR, Indian-controlled Kashmir, July 1 (Xinhua) -- Hundreds of protesters Monday set ablaze an Indian army-run school in Indian-controlled Kashmir to protest killing of two civilians by army gunfire, police said.

The killings of Sunday in village Markundal-Sumbal of Bandipora district, around 38 km north of Srinagar city, the summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir, triggered massive protests in the area.

Locals said, angry protesters marched to army-run school in nearby Hajan village and pelted stones at it while trying to set it ablaze.

However, police spokesman said flames were doused off immediately by firemen from fire and emergency services department.

"There was a small fire because in one of the rooms of the school after few miscreants threw a bottle of petrol inside it," a police spokesman said. "It was doused off immediately by police and fire and emergency service department."

Indian army spokesman said the building suffered "extensive damage."

"One room of the building has damaged completely in the fire," said Naresh Vij, Indian army spokesman. "The protesters have also smashed windowpanes of the building, furniture and damaged the school gate."

Meanwhile, authorities have imposed curfew in Hajin, Sumbal and Naidkhi townships to contain protests that continued for second straight day.

Indian army has established more than 50 schools across the restive region as a "goodwill gesture" under its operation Sadbhavana.

Normal life in Muslim-majority areas of Indian-controlled Kashmir was severely hit Monday due to shutdown called by separatists to protest these killings.

New Delhi has imposed the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in the region, which gives extraordinary powers to its troops such as shooting a person on mere suspicion.

During the last two decades and more Indian troops were consistently accused of carrying out grave human rights violations in the region.

Markets, business establishments, educational institutions, banks and private offices remained closed in Muslim majority areas of the region including Srinagar city. The public transport was off the roads following shutdown call.

Separatists demanding an end of Indian rule have been asking for troop withdrawal and scrapping of their special powers. They have even made it a pre-condition for entering into formal talks with New Delhi.

A guerrilla war has been going on between militants and Indian troops stationed in the region since 1989.

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