SRINAGAR: Three Kashmiri fighters were killed in a gunbattle with Indian forces in Indian occupied Kashmir on Sunday and at least 6 civilians were killed in an explosion at the site after the fighting was over, officials and residents said.
The fighting erupted after Indian occupied forces cordoned off a village in the southern Kulgam area on a tip that Kashmiri fighters were hiding there, India’s military claimed. The exchange lasted for several hours in which three Kashmiris were killed and two soldiers injured, it said.
Residents said Indian occupied forces blew up a civilian home with explosives while fighting the Kashmiris.
As the fighting raged, protesters tried to reach the site of the standoff. They threw stones at government forces hoping to help the trapped Kashmiris escape. Indian occupied forces fired shotgun pellets and tear gas at the protesters, leaving at least 35 injured.
As counterinsurgency police and soldiers hastily left the place after the fighting was over, hundreds of civilians converged on the site. An explosion occurred as people tried to extinguish a fire at the blasted house, residents said, killing at least one civilian and wounding seven others who were hospitalised in critical condition. Two other civilians died at a hospital.
S.P. Pani, a top police officer, said the civilians assembled at the site despite repeated requests to stay away as soldiers were still clearing the area. “Someone from the crowd fiddled with an unexploded explosive substance, resulting in the tragic incident,” he said.