Villagers in Shopian district of Indian-administered Kashmir say the woman was killed after troops fired during anti-India protests, disputing official accounts that she died in the crossfire.
A woman was shot dead during anti-India protests in Indian-administered Kashmir on Tuesday, following a gun battle that killed two suspected rebels, police and villagers said.
The fighting erupted after Indian troops cordoned off a village in the Shopian district overnight on a tip that rebels were hiding in a house, police said.
The trapped rebels tried to escape while firing their guns but soldiers retaliated, leading to a prolonged clash.
As the fighting raged, hundreds of residents, mostly young men, entered the streets in solidarity with the rebels, chanting pro-rebels slogans and demanding the end of Indian rule over Kashmir.
The fighting stopped on Tuesday after two rebels were killed and a police official and a soldier were injured, police said. But clashes continued between rock-throwing protesters and Indian troops who fired bullets, shotgun pellets and tear gas.
Police said the woman died in the crossfire. Villagers disputed that claim, saying troops fired at the protesters, killing the woman. At least 10 civilians were also injured.
Police said at least one rebel escaped during the clashes.
Three more civilian killings including two young women within one week !!The killing spree by the Indian armed forces continues relentlessly with impunity and defiance as 24 yr old young woman Ruby jan is murdered in cold blood in Shopian today while scores of youth ...— Mirwaiz Umar Farooq (@MirwaizKashmir) December 19, 2017
The fighting came as the deadliest year of the decade in the disputed territory draws to a close.
At least 210 rebels have been killed this year – the most since 2010 – amid a military campaign to rout armed groups resisting Indian rule in the divided Himalayan region.
In addition, 57 civilians and 78 troops and police have also lost their lives in violence across the conflict-wracked valley, according to police officials and watchdogs.
Tensions were already high in Kashmir after a taxi driver was shot dead by Indian army during an army operation on Saturday evening. An official investigation is underway into his death.
Kashmir has been divided between nuclear-armed rivals Pakistan and India since the end of British colonial rule in 1947 but both lay claim over the entire former Himalayan kingdom.
Rebel groups have been fighting since 1989 against the roughly half a million Indian soldiers deployed in the territory where majority of people favour independence or a merger of the entire disputed region with Pakistan.
Tens of thousands, mostly civilians, have died in the fighting.
In recent years, Kashmiris have openly supported anti-India rebels and sought to protect them by engaging troops in street clashes during military operations against the rebels.