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Indian soldiers kill three militants in Kashmir

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Indian forces are seen on a road in Srinagar, Kashmir, on March 7, 2018. (Photo by Reuters)

Three militants have been killed in a gun battle with Indian forces in the Himalayan region of Kashmir.

The news of the killings sparked protests against New Delhi and prompted the government to impose a curfew on some parts of the region.

The fighting began early Monday morning after government forces raided a cluster of homes in a village in southern Anantnag district on a tip, according to police. Local police officer Altaf Khan said three militants were killed in the shootout that ensued.

The protests sparked by the killings took place in several parts of the region. Officials imposed a curfew on some parts of Kashmir’s main city of Srinagar and ordered schools closed on Monday.

In protest to the killings, most shops and businesses in Srinagar and some other Kashmiri towns were closed. Authorities in return deployed more paramilitary soldiers and police in riot gear to patrol the streets.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since their independence from Britain in 1947. The disputed region is claimed in full by both sides, who often accuse each other of violating a 2003 ceasefire agreement.

The two countries have fought three wars over the disputed territory. Despite a ceasefire agreement that was reached in November 2003, sporadic skirmishes continue in Kashmir.

Armed battles between Indian forces and pro-independence militants over the years have killed nearly 70,000 people, mostly civilians.

Kashmir’s mostly Muslim population has been demanding that the region be given independence or be merged with Pakistan.

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