SRINAGAR: Protests erupted in India-held Kashmir on Thursday after police said a top militant leader had been killed in a gunbattle.

The slain militant, Abu Qasim, was operations chief of the Lashkar-e-Taiba group, said police Director-General K. Rajendra Kumar. There was no independent confirmation or comments from militants fighting against Indian rule in the disputed region.

But as the news spread, hundreds of people tried to march to what was described as the site of the gunbattle. They threw rocks at government forces and set up roadblocks. Security personnel responded with tear gas.

Syed Javaid Mujtaba Gillani, another top police officer, said security personnel launched an operation on Wednesday night in Kulgam after getting a tip that Abu Qasim was in the area.

The militant leader was killed as he tried to break the cordon and flee the region early on Thursday, he said.

Published in Dawn, October 30th, 2015

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