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Separatist leader calls for sit-ins at Indian posts across Kashmir

By Mukhtar Ahmad, CNN
An Indian paramilitary soldiers stands guard in a curfew bound street in Srinagar on Thursday.
An Indian paramilitary soldiers stands guard in a curfew bound street in Srinagar on Thursday.
  • Syed Ali Shah Geelani wants a reminder to Indian army to quit Kashmir
  • Indian army urges Kashmiris to avoid confrontations
  • Anti-India protesters continue to defy curfews

Srinagar, India (CNN) -- Amid a wave of unrest, a top separatist leader Thursday called for sit-ins outside Indian army garrisons across the Himalayan region of Kashmir.

Meanwhile, anti-India protesters continued to defy round-the-clock curfews imposed by the Indian government. Eight people were injured in clashes between stone-pelting mobs and Indian security forces in the town of Sopore in north Kashmir on Thursday.

The protests, which began last June, have claimed 91 lives and left hundreds wounded.

"Peaceful sit-ins should be held outside the army camps to remind the troopers that they should stop human rights violations and leave Kashmir," separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani told reporters at his home in Srinagar on Thursday.

"Elders will handover letters to the army officers in various camps and remind them that they should leave the valley," Geelani said, referring to the Kashmir Valley, a predominantly Muslim region in India's Jammu and Kashmir state.

An Indian defense spokesman urged Kashmiris to avoid confrontation.

"The separatists are indeed misleading the ordinary masses and trying to create a wedge between the army and the people for its vested interests," Lt. Col. J.S. Brar said at a news conference. "This is a deliberate attempt to embroil the army in the ongoing agitation and distract it from its primary role."

Also Thursday, nine militants were killed in gunfights with Indian security forces in the town of Tral and in the frontier area of Gurez, Brar said.

An armed Kashmiri insurgency that erupted against Indian rule in 1989 had subsided in recent years, making this summer's violence the worst in a decade.