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Three more wounded, curfew extended amid Kashmir protests

From Mukhtar Ahmad, CNN
An Indian paramilitary soldier patrols the curfew bound streets of Srinigar on September 14, 2010.
An Indian paramilitary soldier patrols the curfew bound streets of Srinigar on September 14, 2010.
  • Police say one person was critically injured with a bullet wound to his head
  • An around-the-clock curfew has been extended as protests rage on
  • Two missionary schools, many government buildings burned
  • The death toll since June 11 stands at 89

Srinagar, India (CNN) -- Three people were wounded in Indian-administered Kashmir Tuesday when Indian security forces opened fire to quell curfew-defying, pro-independence mobs.

In the city of Baramulla in northern Kashmir, police said two people were injured -- one critically by a bullet wound to his head. And in the capital of Srinagar, another protester was injured after police opened fire on a mob throwing stones at a security forces camp, police said.

Tuesday's clashes came a day after 18 people were killed and 80 were wounded in widespread violence in Kashmir -- the highest single-day toll in the Muslim-majority Kashmir Valley since June 11, bringing the death toll to 89.

State Police Chief Kuldeep Khuda said Monday that the security forces had to resort to firing to quell the violent mobs.

As violence continued Tuesday, authorities extended the strict around-the-clock curfew restrictions to the entire Kashmir Valley and deployed thousands of police and paramilitary troopers to enforce it. Police vehicles patroling with loudspeakers announced the indefinite curfew extension.

Officials Tuesday also suspended all flights into Srinagar for three days in light of the violence.

On Monday, clashes between Indian security forces and stone-throwing protesters raged in numerous towns across Kashmir, from the northern resort town of Tangmarg to the central Budgam district and Anantnag in the south.

Two Christian missionary schools, several government buildings and two police vehicles were set on fire by angry mobs, mostly young people, staging protests against India and against a Florida pastor's now-canceled plans to burn the Quran, police said.

Scores of others wounded in the violence are receiving treatment in Kashmir hospitals that have come under tremendous strain.

The protests are part of a "Quit Kashmir" campaign launched by separatist groups against Indian rule in Kashmir.

Muslim-majority Kashmir is claimed by both India and Pakistan. India deployed thousands of troops in Kashmir to guard against what Indian leaders believe was a Pakistan-backed insurgency that began in the late 1980s.

That insurgency, which India says claimed more than 43,000 lives, is no longer raging, but the troops have remained.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has appealed for calm and offered dialogue to any group or individual who rejects violence.

Meanwhile, Pakistan's foreign affairs ministry issued a statement Tuesday condemning the actions of Indian security forces in Kashmir.

"(Foreign Affairs Minister) Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi has strongly condemned the use of blatant violence by Indian security forces against Kashmiri people that have resulted in the loss of scores of innocent lives since June this year," the statement said. "He has urged India to exercise restraint and, instead of resorting to violence and procrastination, work towards finding a solution to the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant UN resolution and aspirations of Kashmiris."