SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Indian government troops killed two militants in a prolonged gunbattle that also wounded one police officer in the Indian-ruled portion of Kashmir, an official said Tuesday. A protester died in a separate incident.
Senior paramilitary officer Nalin Prabhat said the gunbattle began Monday after security forces cordoned off some houses in Ratnipora village. Shooting resumed Tuesday with the militants slipping into nearby rice fields under the cover of darkness and continued for about eight hours.
Also Tuesday, hundreds of young people chanting pro-independence slogans hurled stones at Indian troops in the area, injuring 26 of them, Prabhat said. The troops fired tear gas and live ammunition in the air to disperse the protesters.
In a separate incident, the protesters threw stones at a vehicle of the paramilitary Border Security Force passing by the area. The soldiers opened fire, wounding one protester who later died in a hospital, police said.
The area is 25 kilometers (15 miles) south of Srinagar, the main city in the Indian-held portion of Kashmir.
Many residents in the Himalayan region oppose Indian rule over it and favor independence or merger with Pakistan.
More than 68,000 people have been killed in the region's insurgency and subsequent Indian military crackdown.