SRINAGAR - Around 20 people were detained Tuesday in Indian-occupied Kashmir while protesting on Human Rights Day against abuses by security forces in the disputed territory, police and witnesses said.

Police blocked several small processions by rights activists in the main city of Srinagar while at least three Kashmiri leaders were put under house arrest, security sources said.

A senior police officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, said around 20 people, most of them known activists, had been detained. Relatives of Kashmiris who have gone missing, and blame the security forces for their disappearance, issued a statement to protest gross violations. "In Kashmir, we observe it (Human Rights Day) as a Black Day. State power continues to trump human rights here, letting down thousands of victims battling gross violations and brutality," said the statement of the UN-supported day.

Scores of protesters who say they were tortured or sexually assaulted by Indian security forces held a silent sit-in at a park, displaying posters demanding justice and an end to emergency military laws that protect troops accused of abuses from prosecution in civilian courts.

Posters read "Is it too much to ask for justice?" and "Where are our loved ones?"

The Indian government has consistently claimed that rights abuses are aberrations and that perpetrators are punished by military courts.

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan by a heavily militarised de facto border known as the Line of Control and is claimed by both countries in full.

About a dozen groups have been fighting Indian forces for independence or the territory's merger with Pakistan.

Tens of thousands have died in the fighting. In one of many such findings by local rights groups, a 354-page study released last December alleged widespread disappearances, murders and torture by security forces.