Three civilians and one rebel fighter were killed and at least 28 people were injured on Tuesday in clashes between protesters and Indian troops and police in India-administered Kashmir, police said.
The clashes started when government forces killed a rebel fighter in the Chadoora area, senior police officer Javid Gillani said.
Hundreds of villagers, in a show of support for the rebels, threw stones at government forces who had cordoned off the area, sparking clashes in which three civilians were killed.
Gillani said government forces fired tear gas and ammunition to disperse the protesting crowds.
Another police officer speaking on condition of anonymity said at least 28 people were injured, including eight government forces personnel.
Police also blocked an ambulance to prevent relatives from carrying the body of a slain youth who was killed in anti-India clashes, sparking widespread anger, Kashmir Life newspaper reported.
A police officer, speaking on a customary condition of anonymity, said the action was taken to avoid more protests and the body would be handed over to the relatives for burial later on Tuesday.
More troops deployed
Last month, Indian army chief Bipin Rawat issued a strong warning to stone pelters trying to help rebels escape from the battle sites.
Armed encounters between rebels fighting to end Indian rule in Kashmir and government forces have become more frequent since the widespread civil uprising last year, sparked by the killing in July of a popular rebel leader.
Around 100 civilians were killed and close to 7,000 suffered pellet injuries — many of them in the eyes — blinding them completely or partially.
— faysal (@_Faysal) March 28, 2017
With elections next month for two seats to the Indian parliament, the Indian government has deployed 20,000 more troops in the disputed Himalayan territory.
India has stationed over half-a-million troops in the region where rebel groups have fought them for decades in hope to gain independence or merge the territory with neighbouring Pakistan. The fighting has left tens of thousands, mostly civilians, dead.