Protests erupt as top militant gets killed in Kashmir


Two militants including the chief commander of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) outfit in Kashmir, Abu Dujana, were killed in a gunfight with the Indian armed forces on Tuesday in Pulwama district of the disputed Jammu Kashmir.

"LeT Chief Commander Abu Dujana of Pakistan along with his accomplice, Arif Lelhari, were killed this [Tuesday] morning in a gunfight in Hakripora Pulwama. It is a huge achievement," police spokesman Manoj Pandita told the media.

The Indian government had placed on Dujana's head a bounty of $23,000.

According to police, Dujana had earlier managed to escape five times when the Indian forces closed in on him.

Sources in police department said that they had specific information about the presence of Dujana and Lelhari, and that the forces surrounded the village around 4 a.m. local time on Tuesday (2230GMT Monday) and the gunfight ended with the killing of both militants.

Soon after the killing, the Indian government shut down all internet services in the region. As soon as the news of Dujana's killing spread, civilian protesters took to the streets in anti-India demonstrations across the region, and clashed with Indian forces, raising slogans for independence.

A civilian in his twenties, Firdous Ahmad, was killed after the Indian forces opened fire on protesters in Harkipora, eyewitnesses told Anadolu Agency.

Medical Superintendent of District Hospital Pulwama, Dr. Abdul Rashid Parra, confirmed to Anadolu Agency that a young man had been brought dead to the hospital.

"He was hit with a bullet in the chest," Parra said.

According to local media reports, at least a dozen protesters have been wounded so far, with some of them receiving bullet injuries.

Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.

The two countries have fought three wars -- in 1948, 1965 and 1971 -- since they were partitioned in 1947, two of which were fought over Kashmir. Kashmiri resistance groups in Jammu Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.

More than 70,000 people have reportedly been killed in the conflict since 1989. India maintains more than half a million troops in the disputed region.

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