Anti-India clashes after troops kill 2 rebels in Kashmir

SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Anti-India clashes erupted in the main city in Indian-controlled Kashmir on Monday following the killing of two suspected rebels in a gunfight with government forces.

Police and paramilitary soldiers on a tip launched a counterinsurgency operation in a neighborhood in Srinagar overnight, leading to an exchange of gunfire between trapped militants and troops early Monday, police said in a statement.

Two suspected militants were killed in the fighting, police said. Residents said troops set a civilian house on fire during the fighting.

Police said one of the dead was a Pakistani militant who had been operating in the region since earlier this year and was responsible for at least two deadly attacks on paramilitary soldiers in Srinagar.

There was no independent confirmation of the police claim.

As the fighting ended, scores of people, chanting slogans such as “Go India, go back” and “We want freedom,” threw stones at government forces. Troops retaliated by firing tear gas and shotgun pellets. No one was immediately reported injured in the clashes.

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan, which both claim the region in its entirety. Most Kashmiris support the rebel goal of uniting the territory, either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country.

India calls the Kashmir militancy Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. Pakistan denies the charge, and most Kashmiris call it a legitimate freedom struggle.

Tens of thousands of civilians, rebels and government forces have been killed in the conflict.

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