At least nine people, including three armed rebels, four Indian army soldiers and a police constable, have been killed in a gun battle in India-administered Kashmir.
The gun battle on Monday in Pinglan village of Pulwama district comes days after 42 Indian security personnel were killed in a suicide blast – the worst such attack in 30 years of Kashmir conflict, which has raised fears of confrontation with archenemy Pakistan.
Local residents in Pinglan village said that three houses and a cowshed were blown up by the armed forces and one of the house owners, Mushtaq Ahmad, 30, who ran a poultry shop in the village, was also killed.
The police in a statement, however, said that the civilian was killed after the rebels fired “indiscriminately”. The statement also said two of the rebels were foreigners and one was local.
The officials said that the rebels belonged to Jaish-e-Mohammed group which is suspected of carrying out the deadly attack on the Indian paramilitary convoy on February 14, which killed 42 men.
In the aftermath of the suicide attack in mainland India, there have been multiple “revenge attacks” by right-wing mobs on Kashmiris who have been “threatened to leave or face consequences”.
Dozens of Kashmiri students have fled their colleges across India and headed home.