Anti-India protests and clashes erupted in several places in disputed Kashmir on Thursday after Indian troops killed a young man, officials and residents said, and an Indian soldier and a rebel were killed in a separate gunbattle.
Residents in Indian-controlled Kashmir’s main city, Srinagar, said government forces shot and killed the young man during a raid early Thursday. The man worked as a shepherd and he was attending to his sheep when troops fired at him, they said.
Police have yet to make a statement.
The killing triggered protests and clashes as hundreds of people poured into streets at several places in downtown Srinagar calling for the end of Indian rule. They chanted slogans like “Go India, go back” and “We want freedom” as some of the residents barraged police and paramilitary soldiers with stones.
Government troops fired tear gas and shotgun pellets to quell the protests while authorities restricted movement in old quarters of the city.
Later thousands attended the man’s burial.
Elsewhere, India’s army said a soldier and a rebel were killed Thursday in a gunbattle in southern Qazigund area.
Col. Rajesh Kalia, an army spokesman, said the troops raided a village in the area on a tip that some militants were hiding there, leading to exchange of gunfire. He said the operation was ongoing.
Also Thursday, at least two militants were trapped in a mosque after troops laid a siege around it in Panzan village, police said.
As the siege continued, villagers tried to march toward mosque in solidarity with the rebels, leading to clashes between stone-throwing protesters and government forces who deployed tear smoke shells and pellets.
No one was immediately reported injured in both the clashes.
Most Kashmiris support the rebel cause of unifying the divided region either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country, while participating in civilian street protests against Indian control. In recent years, mainly young Kashmiris have displayed open solidarity with rebels and sought to protect them by engaging troops in street clashes during military operations.
Rebels have been fighting Indian control since 1989. Nearly 70,000 people have been killed in the uprising and the ensuing Indian military crackdown.