By Fayaz Bukhari
SRINAGAR (Reuters) – Indian security forces on Saturday killed five militants in the disputed region of Kashmir, the biggest single-day casualty since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government took direct control of the state, leading to protests.
Modi’s Hindu nationalist party pulled out of a coalition government in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in June, citing a deterioration in security, leading to president’s rule or direct control by the federal government.
Dozens of protesters were injured, two of them critically with gunshot wounds, as a large number of youths gathered in Kilora village in South Kashmir’s Shopian district and pelted Indian troops with stones.
Witnesses said troops fired tear gas, pellets and bullets to quell the protests. A doctor at the local hospital said they had received at least two dozen injured people.
Srinagar-based Indian Defence Ministry spokesman, Colonel Rajesh Kalia, told Reuters the militants were killed on Saturday.
The Indian army along with the police on Friday launched an operation against the militants, who, they said, were hiding in Kilora village. The officer said they recovered automatic assault rifles.
Officials say 227 people, including 130 militants and 52 Indian security force personnel, have been killed this year in the Kashmir conflict.
(Writing by Aditi Shah; Editing by Janet Lawrence)