AT least 50 people were injured in clashes in Kashmir today (29) as protestors helped rebels escape a siege by government forces, police and hospital authorities said.
Militant groups fighting the Indian soldiers deployed there demand independence or a merger with Pakistan.
Thousands of villagers poured onto roads Wednesday (29) as two suspected rebels fought a gun battle with soldiers from inside a house in the Kulgam area in southern Kashmir.
Protesters pelted government forces with stones to give the fighters cover to escape, they said.
Fifty people were taken to a local hospital after government forces fired shotgun pellets and live bullets to push the protestors back, witnesses and hospital officials said.
“The house was blown up but the militants escaped in the confusion. No dead bodies were found in the debris,” a top police officer said on condition of anonymity.
The officer said however that only three people were injured, one with a bullet and two with pellets in their eyes.
“Scratches cannot be considered injuries,” he said, to explain the discrepancy in numbers.
More than 90 militants have been killed so far this year.
Residents from nearby villages often throng the streets to help rebels by hurling stones at Indian soldiers.