Indian troops kill 3 militants, one protester in Kashmir

June 22, 2017 12:22 pm

Kashmiri protesters clash with Indian government forces in downtown Srinagar, Kashmir, June 16, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Indian forces have killed three and an anti-government Kashmiri protester in separate incidents in the Indian-controlled Kashmir region, officials say.
According to army spokesman Col. Rajesh Kalia, Indian troops engaged in a nightlong gun battle with the three gunmen, who had been holed up in a house in the cordoned-off southern Kakpora Village, on Thursday.
The army soldiers reportedly also used explosives to target the house and set it ablaze, as hundreds of residents, in defiance of a security lockdown enforced around the village, gathered in the area and clashed with troops in an unsuccessful bid to help the trapped militants escape.
After security forces recovered the charred bodies of the trio and the of the development spread in the area, thousands of people convened in Kakpora to say funeral prayers for the three.
Furthermore, thousands of other protesters, who had also heard the news, filled the streets in the neighboring town of Awantipora, where they blocked a major highway linking the volatile Kashmir Valley with , while shouting “Go , go back!” and “We want freedom.”
Security forces then engaged in violent clashes with the stone-throwing protesters in Awantipora, killing a man and wounding at least five others.
S. P. Vaid, the director general of police for the territory, confirmed the killing.
The development came just a day after Indian troops shot dead two suspected militants in a gun battle in northern Sopore area of Kashmir.
Tensions are high in the Indian-administrated Kashmir region, where the Muslim-majority population stages regular protests against Indian rule and demands autonomy from New Delhi.
India regularly accuses Pakistan of arming and training militants and allowing them across the restive frontier in an attempt to launch attacks on Indian forces. Pakistan strongly denies the allegations.
Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan but claimed in full by both since the two partitioned and gained independence from Britain in 1947. The two countries have fought three wars over the disputed territory. Despite a ceasefire agreement that was reached in November 2003, sporadic skirmishes continue in Kashmir.
New Delhi has deployed some 500,000 soldiers to the disputed region to further boost the security of the borderline and enforce a crackdown on pro-independence demonstrations in its share of Kashmir, where anti-India sentiments are high.
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