SRINAGAR (AFP) - Indian police shot dead 16 people in Occupied Kashmir on Monday as stone-throwing rioters defied curfews in a surge of anger stoked by the desecration of the Holy Quran. The death toll was the highest for a single day since a wave of anti-India demonstrations began three months ago, with 88 civilians now killed in the unrest in the held territory. One policeman also died Monday. Indian security forces shot live ammunition at some of the crowds, killing people in at least five different villages, said a police officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak with media. Recent protests were further fuelled by rage about the desecration of the Holy Quran in Washington on Saturday when a small group of Christians were filmed tearing pages from the holy book, police said. A policeman and seven locals were killed during fierce clashes in central Budgam district, while another six died in the western village of Tangmarg where a mob torched a church-run school, police officials told AFP. Another man died in northern Bandipora district after security forces opened fire at stone-hurling protesters, while another victim was killed in southern Pampore town. Sources said in Anantnag town a youth, identified as Maroof Ahmad Nath, was chased by the security forces during protests after which he jumped into the Jhelum River and drowned. A curfew was clamped across Muslim-majority Kashmir. In Tangmarg, where five lives were lost, an angry mob torched the missionary-run Tyndale Biscoe School, which led to clashes with police. The protesters defied the curfew and took to the streets to protest the alleged desecration of the Holy Quran, a local policeman told AFP by phone, asking not to be named. He said protesters also set fire to government offices. The protesters chanted Down with Quran desecrators, and protest leaders denounced the alleged desecration in speeches to the crowds. There were also shouts of Down with America and Down with Israel. US Ambassador Timothy Roemer said the US government was dismayed by reports of the rioting and appealed for calm. He also condemned any Quran desecration as disrespectful, intolerant, divisive and unrepresentative of American values. The deliberate destruction of any holy book is an abhorrent act. Kashmiri leader Syed Ali Geelani, who has orchestrated a rolling programme of strikes and protests, called for calm on Monday. We strongly condemn those involved in setting ablaze the missionary school, Geelani said. I urge the Muslims to protect the members of minority community and their religious places. We should at any cost maintain the age-old communal harmony and brotherhood for which Kashmir is known world over, he said. On Monday, with orders to shoot-on-sight any protesters defying the curfew, armoured vehicles patrolled the streets and security forces used steel and barbed wire barricades to seal off public squares and neighbourhoods in Srinagar. In Srinagar, scores of young men defied a curfew and held noisy demonstrations at two places, prompting security forces to fire teargas canisters and warning shots. One person has been brought here with head injuries, a doctor at Srinagars main hospital said, asking not to be named. Meanwhile, police filed a case against moderate Kashmiri leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq over the burning of a government building allegedly by a mob during a protest rally on Saturday that he was leading. He denied involvement. Other Kashmiri leaders blamed anti-movement elements for setting fire to the building and called for a probe into the arson.