Suspected rebels in India-administered Kashmir ambushed and shot dead six policemen on Friday even as Indian soldiers killed two civilians and two rebels in a separate gun battle, officials and local media said.
According to a local English daily Greater Kashmir, six policemen including a Station House Officer were killed in a militant attack in southern Achabal area.
Another daily Kashmir Life, said that several militants indiscriminately fired upon a police patrol party including a senior police officer, killing five of them on the spot.
Earlier on Friday, Indian soldiers killed two fighters including a popular rebel commander Junaid Mattoo in south Kashmir's Kulgam district.
The soldiers used IED explosives to blast the houses where the rebels had taken positions.
— Haziq Qadri (@haziq_qadri) June 16, 2017
The news of the gunfight sparked anti-India demonstrations as hundreds of stone-pelting protesters tried to march toward the battle site in hope to help the rebels escape.
Local reports said that two civilians were shot dead in the army firing. It's unclear if the killed civilians were part of the protests.
"The situation is so grim that the youth brave naked bullets of the Indian forces to save the lives of militants who are their heroes. Young students including girls are hitting the streets but refusing to yield," said Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the region's popular resistance leader, in a statement.
— Sheikh Saaliq (@Sheikh_Saaliq) June 16, 2017
as Indian troops open fire on protestors in Srinagar & Arwani.For how long will GOI refuse to accept the reality of Kashmir Dispute ? pic.twitter.com/3GUpkNrpam
— Mirwaiz Umar Farooq (@MirwaizKashmir) June 16, 2017
On Thursday, suspected rebels fired at police officials at two places in the restive region killing two of them, police said.
Anti-India sentiment runs deep in the predominantly Muslim Kashmir, one of the world's most heavily militarised areas, where most people favour independence or a merger with Pakistan.
Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the end of British rule in 1947 but both claim the Himalayan territory in its entirety.
Over a dozen armed rebel groups are fighting nearly half a million Indian troops, with tens of thousands of people, most of them civilians, killed in the nearly three decades-old conflict.