Indian forces clash with Kashmir Muslims marking holy month of Muharram

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Indian forces opened fire with shotgun pellets and tear gas Saturday on a procession by hundreds of Muslims in troubled Kashmir, injuring dozens of people who had ignored a ban on religious gatherings, witnesses said.

Indian authorities had reimposed the ban on Thursday after clashes with Shia Muslims wanting to stage traditional processions for the Muharram holy month.

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Jafar Ali, a witness, told AFP that the procession started in the Bemina area on the outskirts of the main city of Srinagar and that government forces were present in heavy numbers.

Ali and other people who saw the clashes said security forces fired pellets and tear gas to break up the gathering.

“The forces fired pellets at the procession that was mainly peaceful and included women,” said another witness Iqbal Ahmad.

At least 40 people were injured, according to witnesses.

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About 25 people were taken to a nearby clinic with pellet wounds, some with their faces and bodies covered in pellet marks, a doctor there told AFP on condition of anonymity.

“We moved about a dozen people to other facilities for more advanced treatment,” the doctor said.

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