Srinagar, India -- Three people were killed and 20 were wounded in violent anti-India protests that continued Friday despite round-the-clock government curfews imposed in Kashmiri cities and towns.
Indian army soldiers helped beef up security on the streets of Srinagar, the summer capital of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, and in other towns across the mainly Muslim Kashmir Valley, where many residents have been rallying in support of independence from predominantly Hindu India.
The added security forces were prompted by a call by Kashmiri separatists for sit-ins at Indian army garrisons throughout the region.
Protests erupted after Friday prayers in Srinagar and other towns as residents defied strict curfew restrictions, marching openly down streets and outside mosques chanting: "We want freedom."
In the central Kashmir village of Churpora, troops opened fire after residents pelted an Indian convoy with stones, a police spokesman said. One of four people who were wounded later died, he said.
The death sparked more protests in the area.
In the northern town of Tappar, pro-independence demonstrators also stoned a passing convoy. Indian troops fired in retaliation, the police spokesman said. One person died and four were wounded, he said.
In the southern town of Shopian, police opened fire to disperse a mob that torched a government building, said senior police officer Shafaqat Ahmad. One person died on the way to a hospital.
Kashmir's summer of violence has now claimed 94 lives and the unrest seems to show no signs of ebbing.
"All repressive measures are being used to quell and crush the resistance movement and intimidate people for daring to raise their voice for their fundamental political right and defying the Indian state,'" separatist leader Mirwaiz Moulvi Umar Farooq said in a written statement.
Although the army soldiers were seen by journalists, Indian defense spokesman Lt. Col. J.S. Brar denied the presence of the army on the streets of Kashmir.