SRINAGAR - Government forces shot dead a youth in Indian Kashmir Monday during protests following an overnight gunbattle in which a freedom fighter was killed and another was believed to have escaped.
The incident happened in the volatile town of Sopore, 45 kilometres (30 miles) southwest of the main city of Srinagar, during protests by residents at the end of the gunbattle which had started Sunday evening, a police officer said.
"One civilian was killed and four were injured in the firing," the officer told AFP on condition of anonymity. Residents said police arrested two young men from the area following the gunbattle on suspicion of involvement with the rebels.
This infuriated residents further and hundreds more joined the protest. They clashed with police shouting "We want freedom!" a witness told AFP by phone.
Gunbattles between suspected rebels and government forces break out frequently in the disputed territory. These often trigger anti-India protests and bring out thousands during funerals for slain rebels.
Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the two countries gained independence from Britain in 1947. Each claims the territory in full.
About a dozen groups have been fighting in Indian Kashmir since 1989 for independence or merger with Pakistan. The fighting has left tens of thousands, mostly civilians, dead .