Two-Day Separatist Strike Begins in Indian Kashmir

Posted September 6th, 2011 at 3:40 am (UTC-5)
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A general strike to demand the release of political prisoners in Indian Kashmir has shut down much of the region.

Separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani, currently under house arrest, called for the two-day work stoppage to begin on Tuesday.

Local media report businesses and public transportation were largely shut down in Srinagar, the capital of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, as well as several surrounding cities.

Late last month, Indian authorities declared amnesty for more than 1,000 youths alleged to have attacked security forces during pro-independence protests last year in which more than 100 civilians died.

But Geelani says the Indian government has not yet followed up on its promise to release the prisoners.

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan and claimed in full by both. Since 1989, Muslim separatists have been fighting for Kashmir's independence from Hindu-majority India or a merger with Muslim-majority Pakistan.

The nuclear-armed neighbors have fought two wars over the Himalayan region since gaining independence from Britain in 1947. Thousands have been killed in the insurgency.