By Associated Press
SRINAGAR, India — Around 100 people were injured Sunday as Indian government forces fired tear gas and shotgun pellets to quell thousands of protesters who pelted rocks and burned a government office in the Indian portion of Kashmir, police said.
Clashes erupted when police tried to stop the marchers heading to a village in Shopian district in response to a call from separatist groups challenging India’s sovereignty over Kashmir. The area is 70 kilometers south of Srinagar, the main city in Indian-controlled Kashmir.
Also Sunday, key Kashmiri separatist leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik refused to meet a group of Indian lawmakers who came from New Delhi as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts to restore normalcy in the troubled region.
In a joint statement, the leaders demanded that the Indian government address the “core issue of the peoples’ right to self-determination in Jammu-Kashmir.”
A prolonged curfew, communication blackouts and a tightening crackdown have failed to stop some of the largest protests against Indian rule in recent years, triggered by a rebel commander’s killing on July 8. Since then, tens of thousands of people have defied security restrictions, staged protests and clashed with government forces on a daily basis to seek an end of Indian rule.