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At least 20 die in Kashmir

SRINAGAR (Reuter) - At least 20 people died as police and Muslim rebels battled yesterday on the streets of Indian-ruled Kashmir's summer capital, Srinagar.

The shooting began after about 30,000 people, shouting 'Indians go home' and 'We want freedom', gathered in the city to protest against the alleged killing of civilians in the Kashmir valley over the past week. A Kashmiri government spokesman said nine people had been killed, but witnesses put the toll higher.

Domestic news agencies said the authorities had called out the army to restore order. At least 50 houses and 200 shops were ablaze and there was a fierce exchange of gunfire between the two sides.