16 Injured in Kashmir Protests

16 Injured in Kashmir Protests

SRINAGAR, India (AP) -- Massive anti-India protests and clashes erupted in disputed Kashmir on Sunday, leading to injuries to at least 16 people after a gunbattle between militants and government forces overnight killed two rebels, police and residents said.

The clashes erupted after government forces in the southern Shopian area tried to stop mourners from attending the funeral of one of India's most wanted rebels in the Himalayan region, police said.

Rebel commander Zeenatul Islam was killed along with his associate late Saturday in a gunbattle with Indian troops.

Government forces fired bullets, shotgun pellets and tear gas to stop the mourners, leading to street clashes as groups of youths pelted stones at the troops, police and residents said.

Later, authorities withdrew security deployments amid massive anti-India protests and clashes at several places in the area. At least 16 people were injured in the clashes.

India and Pakistan each claim the divided territory of Kashmir in its entirety. Rebels have been fighting Indian control since 1989.

Most Kashmiris support the rebel cause that the territory be united either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country while also participating in civilian street protests against Indian control.

Nearly 70,000 people have been killed in the uprising and the ensuing Indian crackdown.