3 fighters martyred in held Kashmir gunfight: Kashmir police

SRINAGAR: Three pro-independence fighters were martyred in a gun battle with security forces in India-held Kashmir amid widespread protests across the disputed Himalayan region, police said.

They said all those martyred in the shootout in Shopian district were fighters, but villagers insisted one was a local youth, Jasim Shah.

They said the teenager’s body was found in an orchard near the site of the battle.

“Jasim was with the militants for the last three days, so he too was a militant,” Kashmir police official Munir Khan claimed.

Meanwhile, dozens of rallies involving hundreds of people were held across the disputed region calling for action over the conflict raging there.

Holding placards and banners, protesters appealed to the world community to resolve the long pending disputes of Kashmir and also Palestine. Protesters also gathered in the main Kashmir city of Srinagar and chanted anti-US and anti-Israeli slogans.

The protests were in response to calls from Kashmiri leaders to observe the last Friday of the holy month of Ramazan as “Palestine and Kashmir Day”.

A statement released by groups opposed to Indian rule over their region renewed demands for “self-determination” in Kashmir, where an uprising over the last three decades has left tens of thousands dead, mainly civilians.

“Oppressive measures cannot deter this nation from pursuing the right to self determination,” they said in the statement.