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VILLAGERS shout slogans as a commander arrives to pay tribute to slain Kashmiri fighters in Malikgund village of India-held Kashmir on Saturday.—AP
VILLAGERS shout slogans as a commander arrives to pay tribute to slain Kashmiri fighters in Malikgund village of India-held Kashmir on Saturday.—AP

SRINAGAR: Indian for­ces killed five fighters in a gun battle and another man in protests in India-held Kashmir on Saturday, police and residents said.

Soldiers descended on a village in the suburbs of southern Shopian town as thousands gathered to participate in the funeral of one of the fighters killed in the gun battle in a neighbouring village early Saturday, said top police officer S.P. Vaid.

He said the soldiers were acting on a tip that a group of fighters had come to the funeral. He added that the police came under a barrage of stones thrown by local residents.

Locals said clashes erupted after soldiers fired live ammunition at the funeral procession, killing one person. Two others were wounded.

Earlier, army soldiers and police cordoned off a neighbourhood in the suburbs of southern Shopian town overnight, leading to an exchange of fire with fighters, the police said. One Kashmiri was killed overnight while four more died early Saturday.

The fighting sparked protests and clashes as hundreds of residents tried to march to the site of the battle to help the fighters escape. Government forces fired shots, shotgun pellets and tear gas at the stone-throwing protesters, injuring at least 15 people, three of them critically.

Earlier on Friday, two fighters and a soldier were killed in the Sopore area, the authorities said.

Meanwhile, security guards posted at the residence of Farooq Abdullah, a member of India’s parliament and Kashmir’s former top elected official, shot and killed a man after he allegedly forced his entry into the residence on Saturday, Vaid said. He added the man travelling in a car was unarmed and gate-crashed into the residence after scuffling with guards.

Abdullah was not at the residence.

The slain man’s family rejected the police version of the incident.

Published in Dawn, August 5th, 2018