Alwaght- Indian troops have killed a woman during deadly clashes in Indian-administered Kashmir, sparking protests and calls for a general strike.
Hundreds of residents marched towards the shoot-out that continued overnight on Tuesday in Batmuran village in southern Shopian district. Indian troops fired live ammunition and pellets at protesters to prevent them from reaching the scene, witnesses said.
Residents say the slain woman, identified as Ruby Jan, was deliberately shot by Indian government troops but authorities insist she was shot unintentionally.
Indian security officials say two separatists were killed and that more than 20 people were wounded in clashes between stone-throwing youth and security forces.
The villages of Pulwama and Shopian have emerged as the stronghold of pro-independence fighters following the killing of separatist leader Burhan Wani last year. His death triggered a civilian uprising in which more than 100 people were killed and thousands blinded by pellets fired into protesting crowds by security forces.
The woman's death was the third civilian fatality this month. Last week, a woman died during a firefight in Handwara district, and on Sunday, troops killed a civilian cab driver outside his home in Kupwara district.
In response to Tuesday's killing, separatist leaders called for a general strike in the Kashmir valley on Wednesday. Authorities responded by ordering travel restrictions in volatile areas.
Muslim-majority Kashmir has been divided since the partition of British colonial India into the dominion states of India and Pakistan in 1947. China also holds a small parcel of land.
The conflict in Indian-controlled Kashmir is basically a struggle for self-determination with residents of the region demanding a plebiscite while India rejects the call.