SRINAGAR, India – Hundreds of protesters in Indian-administered Kashmir clashed with police Friday, August 30, as the UN Security Council began its first meeting on the territory in nearly half a century, with tensions soaring over New Delhi's move to strip the disputed region of its autonomy.
The meeting began as Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke with US President Donald Trump, who last month controversially offered to mediate in the seven-decade old Kashmir dispute between nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan.
New Delhi ended the autonomous status of its portion of the Muslim-majority territory in the first week of August, stepping up movement restrictions and cutting off phone and internet access to head off civil unrest, and igniting calls from Pakistan for the international community to intervene.
Police fired tear gas and pellet-firing shotguns to disperse residents who tried to march down the main road in the main city of Srinagar after Friday prayers.
Protesters hurled stones and used shop hoardings and tin sheets as improvised shields, as police shot dozens of rounds into the crowd. No injuries were reported.India has always insisted the Kashmir issue can only be resolved bilaterally with Pakistan.
Kashmir has been divided between the two countries since independence, and has been the spark for two major wars and countless clashes between the two nuclear-armed arch-rivals.