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2 anti-India rebels, woman killed during Kashmir fighting
Publish Date: 20-12-17 12:20 AM
SRINAGAR (AFP): A woman was killed during anti-India protests in disputed Kashmir on Tuesday following a gunbattle that killed two rebels, police and villagers said.
The fighting erupted after Indian troops cordoned off a village in the southern Shopian area overnight on a tip that militants were hiding in a house, police said.
The trapped militants tried to escape while firing their guns but soldiers retaliated, leading to a prolonged clash.
As the fighting raged, hundreds of residents, mostly young men, entered the streets in solidarity with the rebels, chanting pro-militant slogans and demanding the end of Indian rule over Kashmir.
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The fighting stopped Tuesday after two militants were killed and a police official and a soldier were injured, police said. But clashes continued between rock-throwing protesters and troops who fired bullets, shotgun pellets and tear gas.
Police said the woman died in the crossfire. Villagers disputed that claim, saying troops fired at the protesters, killing the woman. At least 10 civilians were also injured.
Police said at least one militant escaped during the clashes.
Separatist leaders who challenge India’s sovereignty over Kashmir called for a strike Wednesday to protest recent civilian killings.
Over 200 militants, 75 police and soldiers and at least 40 civilians have died this year, the deadliest since 2010. The surge in violence comes after massive anti-India protests and clashes erupted in Kashmir when a popular rebel leader was killed over a year ago.