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Three killed in IHK

10 March, 2017

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SRINAGAR: A teenage boy and two suspected rebels were killed in a firefight with government forces in Indian-held Kashmir (IHK) on Thursday that forced hundreds of local villagers onto THE streets in defiance of police orders. Police said the firefight began after soldiers and police cordoned off a village outside the main city of Srinagar early on Thursday, "believing that two suspected rebels were hiding out there". Both died in the firefight, which also killed a 15-year-old student hit by a stray bullet, and injured a second civilian. "Two were killed in the encounter. Both were locals and belonged to a banned militant outfit," director general of police, S P Vaid told AFP. Vaid said villagers shouting pro-freedom slogans clashed with security forces near the site of the firefight, defying orders to stay indoors.

A second officer, who asked not to be named, said hundreds of villagers marched to the scene, throwing rocks at government forces in a bid to aid the besieged suspects. Such scenes are increasingly common Indian-held Kashmir, where people have for decades been fighting for independence or a merger with Pakistan. Police said they brought the wife of one of the suspected to appeal him to surrender. "But he refused and was killed later," Vaid said. Around 500,000 Indian soldiers are deployed in the region and the fighting has killed tens of thousands most of them civilians. Armed encounters between Kashmiris and government forces have become more frequent following widespread unrest last year, sparked by the killing of a popular leader by security forces in July

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