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Protesters, security forces clash during Kashmir elections

  • Story Highlights
  • Anti-election demonstrators, Indian security forces clash during state elections
  • Police say they used batons to restore order, and no one was injured
  • Authorities: Protests come a day after Indian paramilitary forces killed two youths
  • Voting was second stage of seven-stage election in Indian-controlled Kashmir
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From Muktar Ahmad
CNN
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SRINAGAR, Indian-controlled Kashmir (CNN) -- Anti-election demonstrators threw stones at two polling stations and clashed with Indian security forces Sunday as voters stood in long lines in Indian-controlled Kashmir to cast ballots in the second stage of state elections.

An Indian Border Security Forces soldier watches as voters in Indian-controlled Kashmir wait to vote Sunday.

An Indian Border Security Forces soldier watches as voters in Indian-controlled Kashmir wait to vote Sunday.

The protesters yelled pro-independence and anti-poll slogans and threw stones at polling stations in two villages in the Ganderbal constituency, police said.

Police used batons to restore order, but no one was injured, police said.

People demonstrated in two other villages, Duderhama and Beehama in Ganderbal constituency -- one of six constituencies voting Sunday in the second of seven stages in the state assembly elections.

The elections began after months of violent protests by anti-Indian groups, fearful state elections will firm up Indian control of the Muslim majority Himalayan state, and by Indian nationalists, fearful that separatist groups will gain control.

Kashmir, divided between India and Pakistan and claimed by both, has been wracked by an 18-year bloody separatist campaign that authorities say has left at least 43,000 dead.

Sunday's protests came a day after Indian paramilitary forces, according to authorities, gunned down two youths, one of them a high school student apparently taking part in an anti-India demonstration.

Police Saturday fired on protesters in the town of Baramulla, killing 10th-grader Manzoor Ahmad Kumar, a senior police officer told CNN. Hundreds of protesters followed Kumar's body into the "Old Town" area of Baramulla, where demonstrators clashed with police.

Protesters threw stones at a candidate's escort vehicles, the office said. Indian authorities deployed heavy paramilitary and police reinforcements to maintain order.

Six protesters were injured in the fighting, police said.

A police official said paramilitary forces in the Baramulla's Old Town area Saturday, shot and killed a second youth, Tanvir Ahmad Sheikh.

Elsewhere Sunday, voting continued without incident. In Kangan constituency, voting picked up in the late morning and afternoon, and there and in Ganderbal, voters -- including many women -- lined up to cast their votes.

Indian poll officials said the turnout was about 65 percent of eligible voters.

Heavy security was also deployed in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian-administered Kashmir. Indian paramilitary troopers carried automatic weapons and blocked roads with barricades and coils of razor wire there and in other towns.

The first phase of elections was held November 17 and the third will be held November 30.

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