Youth killed in clashes in Indian-controlled Kashmir

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A youth was killed Friday when contingents of Indian police and paramilitary troopers fired on protesters in Indian-controlled Kashmir, locals said.

The clashes broke out following the killing of two militants at village Chanigam-Frisal in Kulgam district, about 53 km south of Srinagar city, the summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir.

Indian police confirmed the death of the youth.

"After the killing of two militants, firing resumed during which two Indian army troopers, one paramilitary trooper of CRPF and a civilian was wounded," a police spokesman said. "The wounded civilian succumbed to his wounds and the condition of one army trooper is critical."

The civilian has been identified by police as Tariq Ahmad Bhat.

Locals said the Indian police and paramilitary troopers of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) fired bullets and tear smoke shells to disperse the protesters, who were demanding the bodies of the militants and seeking an end to the cordon against them.

"The forces fired on protesters during which Tariq Ahmad Bhat was wounded," Zahoor Ahmad, a local, said. "Bhat was shifted to sub-district hospital Bijbehara, where doctors declared him dead."

Bhat's death stoked further protests in the village and in neighboring Bijbehara town.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people participated in funeral prayers of the militants and youth. The irate people were shouting anti- India and pro-freedom slogans.

Gunfight in the area between militants and Indian troops began Thursday evening and the exchange of gunfire continued throughout the night.

A separatist movement going on in the restive region is demanding an end to New Delhi's rule in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

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