Dec 10, 2018 09:02 UTC

Indian troops have killed at least three pro-independence militants in New Delhi-controlled Kashmir’s main city, Srinagar, prompting angry protests by residents against the Indian government.

According to Press TV quoting the local media, clashes broke out on Sunday between Indian forces and the Kashmiris, who were protesting the killings in Srinigar.

Government troops fired warning shots, shotgun pellets and tear gas to disperse the stone-throwing demonstrators.

Indian police said the three militants were killed in an earlier exchange of fire with government troops, which lasted for 18 hours. Two of the victims were teenagers.

During the operation, the locals said, Indian forces had laid siege to a neighborhood on the outskirts of the city in search of the militants, blowing up at least five houses with explosives there.

The explosions prompted local residents to make efforts to reach the site of the attack.

Kashmir is divided between rival nuclear powers India and Pakistan, which both claim the territory in its entirety.

The majority of the people in the Muslim-dominant region support the militants who demand either independence or a merger with Pakistan, often participating in civilian street protests against Indian control.

Over the years, violence between the two sides has resulted in the death of nearly 70,000 people, mostly civilians.

New Delhi accuses Islamabad of arming and training the autonomy-seeking militants. Pakistan strongly rejects the claim.

The two neighbors have fought several wars over the region since their partition and independence from Britain in 1947.