Four militants, two Indian army troopers and a civilian were killed and three troopers wounded Sunday in a fierce gunfight in restive Indian-controlled Kashmir, police said.
The gunfight broke out at Frisal village of Kulgam district, about 55 km south of Srinagar city, the summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir.
“Death toll in today’s gunfight rose to seven,” a senior police official posted in Anantnag told Xinhua, saying that “the dead include four militants, two troopers and a civilian.”
According to the police official, the slain civilian belonged to a family in whose residential house the militants were present.
Though police officials said the civilian was killed in crossfire between militants and troops, locals alleged he was used as a human shield by troopers.
The wounded troopers who were immediately airlifted to military base hospital in Srinagar are said to be in stable condition.
Indian military officials said they launched a cordon and search operation in Frisal village on specific intelligence information suggesting presence of militants in the area Saturday night.
Locals said the residential house from where the militants were firing on positions of police and troopers was completely damaged in the exchange of fire.
Following the gunfight, intense clashes broke out in the area between villagers and government forces. The villagers attacked government forces with rocks and brickbats, who responded by firing tear smoke shells and warning shots. Several people are reported wounded in the clashes.
Meanwhile, the slain militants were identified as local cadres of Lashkar-e-Toiba militant outfit.
Militant groups are engaged in a guerilla war with Indian troops in the region since 1989. Gunfight between the two sides takes place intermittently.
Kashmir, the Himalayan region divided between India and Pakistan, is claimed by both in full. Since their independence from Britain, the two countries have fought three wars, two exclusively over Kashmir. Enditem