Indian troops kill 3 rebels in Kashmir gunbattle

A gunbattle between Indian troops and rebels early Monday killed three rebels in disputed Kashmir and triggered more anti-India protests and clashes, officials said.

The fighting began before dawn after government forces raided a cluster of homes in a village in southern Anantnag district on a tip that rebels were concealing there and came under fire from them, police said.

Troops retaliated and in the brief fighting three activists were killed, said Altaf Khan, a local police officer.

As the news of the killings spread, protests and clashes against Indian regulation broke out in several parts of the region. No one was instantly reported injured.

Officials ordered schools closed Monday and fastened a curfew on some parts of Kashmir’s main city of Srinagar, the urban center of protests and conflicts against Indian rule.

Most shops and business in Srinagar and some other Kashmiri towns closed impromptu to protest the killings while authorities deployed more paramilitary soldiers and police in riot gear to patrol streets in the densely militarized region.

While one suspected militant was yet to be identified, the other two slain were local rebels who were engineering students before joining the militancy.

Nuclear-armed India and Pakistan each administer part of Kashmir, but both claim it in its entirety.

Anti-India sentiment runs deep in Kashmir, which in recent years has ensure renewed rebel assaults and recurred public protests against Indian rule.

Rebels have been fighting Indian rule since 1989, demanding Kashmir be made part of Pakistan or become an independent country. India accuses Pakistan of arming and training the rebels, a charge Pakistan denies.

Most Kashmiris support the rebels’ cause against Indian regulation while also participating in civilian street protests against Indian control.

Nearly 70,000 people have been killed in the insurgency and the ensuing Indian military crackdown.

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