SRINAGAR, Indian-controlled Kashmir, March 10 (Xinhua) -- Two separate gunfights and protests in restive Indian-controlled Kashmir have claimed lives of three militants and two civilians respectively, officials said.
Two militants were killed in fierce gunfight at Padgampora village of Pulwama district on Thursday, about 29 km south of Srinagar city, the summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir. However, two civilians died after villagers took to streets in anti-India protests and clashed with government forces.
"Two militants were killed in a gunfight with police and troops in Padgampora area of Awantipora," a police official said. "The gunfight triggered after militants present in a residential house fired upon army and police on being cordoned off."
The slain militants were identified as local cadres of Lashkar-e-Toiba militant outfit.
The stand-off lasted for around six hours. According to police, government forces have not suffered any damage in the standoff.
Police fired dozens of tear smoke shells and warning shots to chase protesters.
However, two civilians including a 15-year-old boy died during protests. Health officials said the teenager was hit by a bullet, while another civilian died because of cardiac arrest. Reports said several people were injured during clashes.
Police officials said the local residents defied the order to stay indoors and tried to target government forces with stone pelting.
Meanwhile, another militant was killed and a trooper wounded in a brief gunfight in northern district of Bandipora.
"One militant of HM was killed after he fired upon a police party in Bandipora, this evening. The police party has set a barricade on a specific information about movement of militants," a police spokesman said. "During the checking militant opened fire wounding an officer of army and in retaliation the said militant was killed."
On Sunday, two militants and an Indian policeman were killed in a similar gunfight in Tral village of Pulwama.
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.
Reports said authorities have placed the top separatist leaders under house detention following the death of two civilians, in a bid to prevent them from leading protests on Friday.