Indian Police Clash With Protesters

SRINAGAR, India -- Indian police beat Kashmiri protesters who defied a curfew on Tuesday, police said, and troops searched for separatist leaders as the biggest anti-India protests in two decades showed no sign of abating.

Authorities have detained three separatist leaders since Monday in an effort to defuse the protests. They raided the homes of another dozen leaders in a sweep that began on Monday night.

Police on Monday killed five Muslim protesters who defied the curfew, bringing the death toll to at least 28 in the biggest demonstrations since a revolt against India's rule by the region's Muslim majority broke out in 1989.

The Indian government says its security forces have been fired upon by protesters on several occasions, questioning separatist statements that their protests were peaceful.

The government has also disputed whether Sheikh Aziz, a senior separatist leader, was killed by police gunfire, saying someone among the crowd of protesters could have shot him.

Over 600 people have been injured in clashes over two weeks. The state, whose tourist brochures proclaim the Kashmir valley as "paradise on earth," has suffered more than $1 billion in lost business.

Police used tear gas and beat hundreds of protesters with batons for defying the curfew in the Achabal area, about 100 kilometers south of Srinagar, the summer capital, police said.

Residents in Kashmir stayed indoors as the military extended the curfew for a third day. Authorities blocked four local television channels from broadcasting on Sunday.