Thousands of people took to the streets in Indian Kashmir Tuesday to protest over the army killing of just a college student, witnesses said.
Police said 20-year-old Mohammed Ramzan Shah died during a gunfight on Monday in the disputed and insurgency-hit state's northern district of Kupwara. The fighting also left a Pakistani militant dead and a soldier wounded.
College student's relatives, however, said he was a college student and not remotely connected to the rebellion against Indian rule that has been raging in the region since 1989.
They say he was arrested and then killed.
"He was arrested by the army on Sunday when he was on his way to attend a function at his aunt's place," Shah's brother Khurshid Ahmed told reporters in the town of Dangiwacha, the scene of anti-government protests.
Braving heavy rain, thousands of residents in Dangiwacha and nearby Rafiabad took to the streets chanting "we want freedom" and "punish the killers," witnesses said.
"We will not bury the dead until the government assures us of a time-bound inquiry into this custodial killing," resident Noor Mohammed told AFP.
Indian troops and police are often accused of human rights violations in Kashmir, including killing suspects in custody and later claiming they died in a shoot-out with authorities.
Last Mod: 12 Eylül 2007, 11:24
Officials say they investigate all claims of wrongdoing and punish the guilty.
Kashmir was rocked by massive protests earlier this year when police investigated their own colleagues and later charged them with killing five innocent people in "gunfights" and passing them off as militants.