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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

6 suspected rebels and Indian soldier killed in Kashmir fighting

Nearly 70,000 people have been killed in the uprising since 1989

Kashmiri Muslims shout slogans at the funeral procession of slain militant Shahid Bashir at village Kawani some 40 kilomtere south of Srinagar, 23 November 2018. EPA
Kashmiri Muslims shout slogans at the funeral procession of slain militant Shahid Bashir at village Kawani some 40 kilomtere south of Srinagar, 23 November 2018. EPA

Six rebels and an army soldier were killed in a gunbattle in Indian-controlled Kashmir on Sunday, officials said, sparking violent protests by residents seeking an end of Indian rule over the disputed region.

Indian troops laid a siege around a village in southern Shopian area early Sunday, leading to an exchange of gunfire in which six militants died, said army spokesman Col Rajesh Kalia.

An army soldier was killed and another wounded in the fighting, he said.

As the fighting raged, hundreds of residents marched near the site of the gunbattle in solidarity with the rebels, triggering violent clashes with security forces.

At least two people were injured when troops fired bullets, shotgun pellets and tear gas to confront the stone-throwing protesters, according to officials.

Kashmir is divided between rivals India and Pakistan and both claim the territory in its entirety. Most Kashmiris support rebel demands that the territory be united either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country.

Rebels have been fighting Indian control since 1989. India accuses Pakistan of arming and training the rebels, a charge Pakistan denies.

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

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