SRINAGAR, Indian-controlled Kashmir, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) -- A civilian was killed after army troopers allegedly fired upon him during a cordon in restive Indian-controlled Kashmir, officials said Sunday.
The civilian, Asif Iqbal Bhat, a driver by profession was killed late Saturday night at village Thindpura-Kralpora of frontier Kupwara, about 98 km northwest of Srinagar city, the summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir.
"Based on information about presence of militants in Thindpura village, army placed ambushes to maintain surveillance on Saturday night. At around 10:55 p.m. (local time), ambush party observed suspicious movement of three persons in the village, who were challenged by troopers, however, they didn't respond. Thereafter, militants opened fire towards army ambush party which was retaliated, an Indian army spokesman said.
"In the crossfire, one person, later identified as Asif Iqbal Bhat, a local was killed due to gunshot wound. It is learnt that he was a taxi driver."
The spokesman said they were investigating the matter.
Family members of the slain driver, however, maintain he was shot "without warning" when he came out of the house to ferry a patient to hospital.
"As he came few yards from his house, the army fired on him, leaving him in pool of blood," family members told media. "He succumbed on way to hospital to Srinagar."
The killing of civilian has triggered protests in the area, with protesters demanding actions against the erring troopers.
Hundreds of people in and around the village came out for protests against the killing, shouting anti-India and pro-freedom slogans.
Reports said the government forces fired dozens of tear smoke shells to chase the protesting villagers.
The clashes were going on until last reports poured in.
"In reference to the incident occurred at Kupwara in which one civilian was killed, police has registered a case and investigation has been started," a police spokesman in Srinagar said. "Police and civil administration will provide all help to the bereaved family."
Anti-India sentiment runs deep in the psyche of majority of Kashmiris. Irate residents took to roads and clash with police. The youth throw stones and brickbats on contingents of police and paramilitary, who respond by firing tear smoke shells, pellets and bullets, which often proves fatal.
A separatist movement and guerrilla war challenging New Delhi's rule is going on in Indian-controlled Kashmir since 1989.