Srinagar: Two soldiers and three freedom fighters were killed in an overnight gunbattle in Kashmir in the latest bloodshed.
Hundreds of Indian soldiers and counter-insurgency forces surrounded Awneera, a village about 50 kilometres (32 miles) south of the main city of Srinagar, on Saturday evening following a tip-off about armed militants in the area.
A fierce firefight broke out in which three fighters and two soldiers were killed, army spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia told AFP.
A police officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the militants were identified as locals.
As news of their death spread, hundreds of residents from neighbouring villages took to the streets in protest, throwing stones at soldiers and chanting slogans against Indian rule.
In a separate incident early Sunday the freedom fighters fired at an army convoy in the northern area of Hajin and injured two police officers and a soldier.
At least 130 militants and 39 soldiers have died in clashes so far this year, officials say.
Freedom fighters have fought since 1989 in Indian Kashmir, demanding independence or a merger of the territory with Pakistan, and tens of thousands — mostly civilians — have been killed. – AFP