SRINAGAR: At least seven ‘rebels’ and an Indian army soldier were killed in gunbattles in disputed Kashmir, triggering violent protests by residents opposed to Indian rule, officials said Saturday.
Army soldiers and counterinsurgency police cordoned off a neighborhood in the suburbs of southern Shopian town overnight, leading to an exchange of fire with suspected rebels, police said. One suspected militant was killed overnight while four more died early Saturday.
The fighting sparked protests and clashes as hundreds of residents tried to march to the site of the battle to help the suspected militants escape.
Government forces fired warning shots, shotgun pellets and tear gas at the stone-throwing protesters, injuring at least 15 people, three of them critically.
Separately, two suspected rebels and a soldier were killed in the northwestern Sopore area on Friday, authorities said.
Meanwhile, security guards posted at the residence of Farooq Abdullah, India’s member of parliament and Kashmir’s former top elected official, shot and killed a young man after he allegedly forced his entry into the residence on Saturday, top police officer S.P. Vaid said.
Vaid said the man traveling in a car was unarmed and gatecrashed into the residence in southern Jammu city. He scuffled with security guards before he was shot to death.
Abdullah was not at the residence.
The slain man’s family rejected the police version of the incident, saying that the residence was not on his route to the gym where he had gone in the morning. They sought an independent probe. There was no independent account of the shooting.-AP