Indian troops kill 3 militants in Indian-controlled Kashmir gunfight

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Three militants belonging to Hizbul Mujahideen militant outfit (HM) were killed in an overnight gunfight with Indian troops in restive Indian-controlled Kashmir, police said Monday.

The gunfight between militants and troops broke out Sunday evening at village Awoora-Pahalgam of Anantnag district, about 79 km south of Srinagar city, the summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir.

"Three militants were gunned down during an overnight gunfight in Awoora village," a senior police official posted in Pahalgam told Xinhua. "The gunfight broke out after joint contingents of police and army cordoned off the area and zeroed on a house where three militants were present."

Indian police and troopers according to officials have not suffered any damage in the stand-off.

According to police officials, the operation was carried out following intelligence inputs suggesting presence of militants in the village.

Locals said the exchange of gunfight started on Sunday evening and continued until Monday morning.

"Throughout night we heard sound of firing and blasts in the village," Wasim Ahmad, a local resident said.

Police officials claimed they have recovered three assault rifles from the gunfight site.

The slain militants were identified as local cadres of HM, the region's indigenous militant outfit.

Locals said the house from where militants were firing on army and police positions has been completely damaged by troops.

Following the news of militants being holed up in the village, protests broke out in neighboring areas including Bijbehara town on Sunday evening. Reports said angry youth threw stones at government forces to and township came to standstill in protest.

On Monday morning hundreds of people braving snowfall and chill assembled in Bijbehara and Srigufwara to march towards the native villages of three local militants and participate in their funeral prayers. Reports said people especially youth were shouting pro-freedom and anti-India slogans as they waited for police to handover bodies to them.

Militant groups are engaged in guerilla war with Indian troops in the region since 1989.

Gunfight between the two sides takes place intermittently.

Kashmir, the Himalayan region divided between India and Pakistan is claimed by both in full. Since their independence from Britain, the two countries have fought three wars, two exclusively over Kashmir. Endit

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