Violence Continues in Indian Kashmir

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The scene on Saturday in India's Jammu and Kashmir state after protesters set fire to government buildings.

This was the latest incident in a new wave of separatist demonstrations that have left 69 people dead.

The protesters oppose New Delhi's rule here, and accuse Indian security forces of brutal conduct.

In response to Saturday's unrest, India has deployed tens of thousands of security forces to enforce an indefinite curfew on major towns.

At the same time, the government is considering a move to relax a law giving wide-ranging authority to security forces in the region.

Some officials see this as a peace overture to Pakistan, which disputes India's presence in Kashmir.

But in New Delhi the main opposition party criticized the idea, blaming unrest on Pakistan's intelligence service "ISI."

[Ravi Shankar Prasad, India's Opposition BJP Party Chief Spokesperson]
"It has started with stone throwing, and now, there is open arson of public property, including government offices. The BJP condemns it outrightly. Obviously, all this is being done under instigation from their handlers across the border, having the patronage of ISI."

In addition to the loss of lives, the recent violence has begun to hurt the region's economy.

Jammu and Kashmir state has lost an estimated one billion dollars, and many industrial units have stopped production.

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