Srinagar: A 24-year-old youth was on Thursday killed by a "stray bullet" near the site of an encounter between militants and security forces in Jammu and Kashmir's Anantnag district.
The state police said Arif Amin Shah of Sangam village in south Kashmir was killed after a mob threw stones at security forces in a neighbourhood, some distance away from a village where three Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militants were killed in a six-hour gunfight.
An officer told IANS that the slain militants were all Kashmiris and apparently belonged to southern Kashmir where widespread clashes erupted between security forces and civilians after news spread about the militants' deaths.
Security forces launched a cordon and search operation in the area last night following information about presence of at least two militants in the area, the police official said.
He said an encounter broke out between the security forces and militants in the early hours today, which was continuing till last reports came in.
"The security forces tried to enter the house where the militants are hiding several times during the day but each time had to retreat in view of firing from the ultras," he said, as per PTI.
Some villagers tried to march towards the shootout site in Arwani village, some 40 km from here, in Kulgam district. They threw stones at police contingents and paramilitary troopers.
The police said Shah was hit by a stray bullet but residents alleged he was killed in firing by the security forces. At least a dozen civilians were also injured. One of them was critical, the locals said.
Clashes also erupted at a dozen places in Anantnag and Kulgam -- the worst hit south Kashmir districts in the unrest triggered by the July 8 killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.
In the wake of the unrest since then, some 100 persons died in the months of daily protests and shutdown, which was spearheaded by separatist leaders.
The situation in the valley had just started easing. Separatists on Wednesday relaxed for three days -- Saturday, Sunday and Monday -- their weekly protest calendar.
(With Agency inputs)