A teenage boy, and two militants were killed in a firefight with government forces in Indian-administered Kashmir on Thursday, which brought hundreds of local villagers out onto the streets in defiance of police orders.
Police said the firefight began after soldiers and police cordoned off a village outside the main city of Srinagar early Thursday, believing that two suspected militants were hiding out there.
Both died in the firefight, which also killed a 15-year-old student hit by a stray bullet, and injured a second civilian.
“Two terrorists were killed in the encounter. Both were locals and belonged to Lashkar-e-Taiba group,” director general of police, S. P. Vaid told AFP.
Lashkar-e-Taiba is a pro-Pakistan militant group that has been involved in a number of deadly attacks in India.
Vaid said villagers shouting pro-freedom slogans clashed with security forces near the site of the gun battle, defying orders to stay indoors.
A second officer who asked not to be named said hundreds of villagers marched to the scene, throwing rocks at government forces in a bid to aid the besieged militants.
Such scenes are increasingly common in the restive region, where rebel groups have for decades been fighting for independence or a merger with Pakistan.
Police said they brought the wife of one of the LeT militants to appeal him to surrender. “But he refused and was killed later. LeT militants don't surrender,” Vaid said.
Around 500,000 Indian soldiers are deployed in the region and the fighting has killed tens of thousands most of them civilians.