Protests held in Indian Kashmir after 3 rebels are killed

SRINAGAR: Violent clashes between police and protesters erupted in Indian-controlled Kashmir on Saturday following the killing of three rebels in a gunbattle.

The gunbattle between militants and government forces began after troops acting on a tip cordoned Panzgam village early Saturday, said Indian army spokesman Col. Nitin N. Joshi.

The rebels belonged to Hizbul Mujahideen, Kashmir's largest rebel group, Joshi said.

Later, residents in neighboring Pulwama town threw rocks at police and paramilitary soldiers and chanted slogans against Indian rule.

Government troops fired tear gas and pellet guns to disperse the protesters.

There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Rebels have been fighting since 1989 for

from India or merger with Pakistan, which controls another portion of the territory in the west. More than 68,000 people have been killed in the militant uprising and Indian crackdown.