//Police fire teargas on Muslim protesters in Kashmir

Police fire teargas on Muslim protesters in Kashmir

28 Feb 2006 11:33:55 GMT, Source: Reuters

SRINAGAR, India, Feb 28 (Reuters) – Police in Indian Kashmir fired teargas on Tuesday to disperse hundreds of Muslims protesting the magazine publication of a picture of a playing card showing an image of Mecca, police and witnesses said.

They said at least 10 protesters were detained.

More than 400 Muslim youths gathered near Lal Chowk, in the heart of Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, shouting "La Ilaha Illallah" (there is no god but Allah) … down with India Today."

In its latest issue, the weekly published pictures of playing cards, one showing an image of Mecca. The protesters are angry because gambling is forbidden by Islam.

Youths pelted police with stones and set fire to copies of the magazine, witnesses said.

Jammu and Kashmir, torn by 16 years of separatist revolt, is mainly India’s only Muslim-majority state.

Security has been tight across Kashmir ahead of a visit by U.S. President George W. Bush to India and Pakistan.

In March 2000, 35 minority Sikhs were killed in a Kashmir village by gunmen in an attack hours before then U.S. President Bill Clinton began a state visit to India.

Violence continues in the Himalayan region, but at a reduced level, despite an India-Pakistan peace process launched two years ago.

Indian soldiers shot dead four suspected militants in separate gunbattles across the region, police said.