Nine killed in Indian Kashmir in separate incidents

Soldiers battled suspected insurgents in Indian Kashmir on Friday and rebels allegedly killed a villager as nine people were slain in separate incidents, officials said.

One of the killings sparked violent protests on the outskirts of the Himalayan region's capital by hundreds of angry residents who threw stones at police and claimed a top militant leader had been slain while in police custody. No arrests or injuries were reported.

Police said two suspected insurgents were killed in a shootout Friday with officers on the edge of Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian Kashmir, the AP informs.

They refused to identify the two slain or comment on allegations that one was Ibrahim Dar, a commander of one of Kashmir's most feared militant groups, Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, and had been killed while being held by police.

Dar was reportedly captured by police late Thursday.

Lashkar-e-Tayyaba is one of the nearly dozen Islamic rebel groups that have been fighting since 1989 for predominantly Muslim Kashmir's independence from India, a country dominated by Hindus, or its merger with Pakistan. More than 66,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

In a separate firefight Friday near the Line of Control, which separates the Indian and Pakistani sides of Kashmir, two suspected militants and four soldiers were killed, said a police officer who did not want to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

The officer said the slain rebels infiltrated the Indian-controlled portion late Thursday and were killed near Maschil, about 110 kilometers (68 miles) north of Srinagar.

Also on Friday, unidentified assailants shot and killed a woman, Shagufta Akhtar, in the village of Sambura, about 60 kilometers (37 miles) south of Srinagar, said police officer Imtiyaz Ahmad.

Ahmad blamed suspected rebels for the shooting, but his report could not by independently verified.


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