SRINAGAR, India - Four people were killed in Indian Kashmir on Monday when police fired on Muslim protesters who set fire to a Christian missionary school to denounce reports that copies of the Koran had been damaged in the United States, officials said.
Police said the demonstrations, attended by thousands in western Kashmir, quickly turned into protests against the Indian central government -- a day after authorities slapped a curfew on much of the restive region.
The crowds massed in Budgam and Tangmarg areas chanting slogans denouncing the United States. They set fire to government buildings and a school owned by a Protestant church, witnesses and officials said.
"One person died in Humahama (in Budgam district) over Koran protests and in Tangmarg three people were killed after a huge Koran protest turned into an anti-government demonstration," Kashmir Valley's Inspector General of Police, S.M Sahia, told Reuters.
Several people were wounded, police and hospital officials said.
Kashmir has seen mass rallies against Indian rule in the last three months and at least 70 protesters have been killed by police. Demonstrations on other issues -- such as the Koran -- can often balloon into wider anti-government sentiment.
On Sunday, two people were killed in a third straight day of violent protests in Afghanistan sparked by a U.S. pastor's threat to burn copies of the Koran.
While pastor Terry Jones dropped his plans, there were at least two incidents of abuse of the Koran in Lower Manhattan in New York on Saturday. Two evangelical preachers not affiliated with any mainstream church burned two copies of the Koran in Tennessee.
It was unclear which incidents the Kashmiri demonstrators were denouncing. Iranian TV reports were aired in Kashmir on Sunday about alleged discreations of the Koran - a grave insult to Muslims who believe the Koran to be the literal word of God.
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