SRINAGAR: At least four militants, a police official and a civilian were killed during a gun battle in India-held Kashmir on Friday, triggering anti-India protests and clashes in which several people were injured.
Indian forces raided a cluster of homes on a tip that militants were hiding in the southern Srigufwara area and they came under fire from militants, police claimed.
Four militants and a police official with the counterinsurgency force were killed in the fighting, said Col Rajesh Kalia, an Indian army spokesman.
Police said a civilian husband and wife were hit by gunfire as soldiers cornered the militants in the couple’s house. Residents said the couple was not given time by Indian forces to leave their home.
They were evacuated to a hospital where the husband was declared dead on arrival. Police said at least two soldiers were also wounded in the fighting. As the fighting raged, protests and clashes broke out nearby and in other neighbourhoods as residents tried to help the trapped militants escape.
Indian forces fired shotgun pellets and tear gas at the stone-throwing protesters, injuring at least 20.
Authorities suspended mobile phone internet service in several districts of the disputed Himalayan region, a common practice to make organising protests more difficult and stop the spread of news.
Large anti-India protests and clashes later erupted on the outskirts of Srinagar, as thousands gathered to participate in the funeral of one of the slain militants. Protesters, chanting pro-militant slogans and demanding the end of Indian rule in the disputed region, blocked a major highway and fought pitched battles with Indian forces. Several people were reportedly injured in the clashes.
Published in Dawn, June 23rd, 2018