Government forces in India-administered Kashmir fire shotgun pellets and live ammunition at hundreds of anti-India protesters, following a gun battle in Shopian district, wounding dozens of civilians and six journalists, reports say.
Indian troops and police on Tuesday killed at least three rebels and wounded several protesters including six journalists in India-administered Kashmir, police and witnesses said, in a fresh bout of violence in the disputed region.
The rebels were killed in a gun battle in Shirmal village of Shopian district, Indian paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force said in a statement.
"Identities of the militants are yet to be ascertained," the statement said, adding four rebels were killed in the fighting.
However, police in the region confirmed the killing of only three rebels.
One of the four rebels managed to flee the battle site, Greater Kashmir reported.
Journalists, protesters targeted by pellets
During the gun battle, hundreds of people took to the streets, with Indian troops opening fire on the protestors wounding several people including six journalists, who were hit by pellets.
"We wanted to cross the road and displayed our cameras to the Indian forces. Two of us were wearing vests that had clear 'PRESS' signs on them. Despite that, they fired pellets at us," Waseem Andrabi, one of wounded journalists and a photographer for Indian newspaper Hindustan Times, told media.
The fresh violence came a day after three rebels were killed in Budgam district in central Kashmir.
No let up in killings and persecution of Kashmiri’s especially the young by Indian forces as six young armed boys martyred since yesterday while unarmed Mohd Younis grievously injured in head with stones thrown at him and photojournalists covering protests showered with pellets!— Mirwaiz Umar Farooq (@MirwaizKashmir) January 22, 2019
Support for rebels' cause
India and Pakistan each claim the divided territory of Kashmir in its entirety.
Most Kashmiris support the rebel cause that the territory be united either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country while also participating in civilian street protests against Indian control.
India, which has deployed over 500,000 troops in the tiny Muslim-majority region, accuses Pakistan of arming and training the rebels fighting Indian rule since 1989, a charge Pakistan denies.
Nearly 100,000 people have been killed in the uprising and the ensuing Indian military crackdown.
In pic- Photojournalist Nisar-ul-Haq being treated at a local hospital after being hit by pellets during clashes which erupted near the Shopian encounter site. At least four photojournalists received pellet injuries while covering clashes near gunfight site in #Shopian #Kashmir pic.twitter.com/lVwpzRgwX4— Kupwara Times (@KupwaraTimes) January 22, 2019