Clashes over anti-Islam film hit Indian Kashmir

September 18, 2012, Tuesday/ 12:12:00/ AP

Troops and protesters clashed violently in the streets of Indian-controlled Kashmir on Tuesday during a march against an anti-Islam film produced in the United States.

A strike shut down businesses and public transportation in Kashmir's main city of Srinagar as marchers burned US flags and an effigy of President Barack Obama. When the protesters tried to march into the main business district, police fired tear gas and used batons to disperse them, a police officer said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters. Initially, the protesters retreated but quickly regrouped and hurled rocks at the troops, he said. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

The protesters also torched a government jeep and damaged another, the officer said.

Protests also hit at least seven other towns in the volatile region.

An alliance of Kashmiri religious groups called the strike in response to the film that ridicules the Prophet Muhammad. The shutdown was supported by the bar association, trade unions and separatist groups in the volatile region where strikes are a common tactic to protest against Indian rule. Authorities placed key separatist leaders under house arrest, a common tactic aimed at stopping them from leading public rallies.

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