Kashmiri Muslims protest Rohingya persecution


Thousands of Kashmiri Muslims on Friday marched in solidarity with the Rohingya community being persecuted in Myanmar.

The protests were held in Srinagar's old city despite a curfew imposed by the Indian authorities.

Demonstrations were also held in southern Kashmir's Anantnag, Pampore and Tral towns.

In Anantnag protesters clashed with police and paramilitary forces as they shouted slogans against the "genocide" of Rohingya Muslims by the Myanmar government.

At least six policemen sustained injuries during the clashes, while an angry mob torched a police vehicle.

270,000 Rohingya refugees have crossed into Bangladesh in the last two weeks to escape persecution in Myanmar, the UN said on Friday.

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

Last October, following attacks on border posts in Maungdaw, Myanmar security forces launched a five-month crackdown in which, according to Rohingya groups, around 400 people were killed.

The UN has documented mass gang rapes, killings -- including those of infants and young children -- brutal beatings, and disappearances committed by security personnel.

In a report, UN investigators said the human rights violations constituted crimes against humanity.

Fresh violence erupted in Myanmar's Rakhine state nearly two weeks ago when security forces launched an operation against the Rohingya community.

On Thursday, Narendra Modi, the Indian prime minister, met Aung San Suu Kyi, state councilor of Myanmar and Nobel laureate, during an official visit.

After the meeting Aung San Suu Kyi called the Rohingya crisis similar to the Kashmir dispute in India.

"We are facing the same problem as India is facing in Kashmir," she said.

She added that the issue of the Rohingya Muslims is one of the biggest challenges, dating back to pre-colonial times and hence, will take time to be resolved.

Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.

The two countries have fought three wars -- in 1948, 1965 and 1971 -- since they were partitioned in 1947, two over Kashmir.

Kashmiri resistance groups in Jammu-Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.

More than 70,000 people have reportedly been killed in the conflict since 1989. India maintains more than half a million troops in the disputed region.

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