Srinagar, April 11 (IANS): A soldier and three civilians were killed as militants clashed with security forces on Wednesday in Jammu and Kashmir's Kulgam district, triggering violent street protests, officials and witnesses said.
The security forces finally used heavy explosives to destroy the house from where two or three militants linked to the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) were firing away in Wani Mohalla in Khudwani area.
By then, however, one soldier and three civilians had been killed while two security personnel and over 40 civilians were injured.
Reports from the site said the house where the militants were hiding was destroyed while two others caught fire when the security forces used explosives. Two security personnel were also injured in the gunfight.
There was no official word on the death of any militant.
The civilian casualties occurred when people came out of their homes during the gun battle and pelted stones at the security personnel.
Doctors said a civilian, Faisal Elahi, 15, was brought to a hospital in Qaimoh town in Kulgam district and he succumbed to critical bullet injuries.
Earlier, two other civilians, Bilal Ahmad Dar, 17, and Sharjeel Sheikh 28, injured during clashes between protesters and security forces died.
Four injured civilians have been referred to Srinagar for specialized treatment. Informed sources said over 40 civilians were injured in street clashes.
Police said the soldier was killed and two other security personnel were injured in firing by the holed up militants.
Authorities ordered closure of all schools and colleges in Kulgam and Internet services have been suspended in south Kashmir.
Clashes also erupted on Wednesday between students and security personnel in north Kashmir's Sopore town as news about the deaths of civilians in Kulgam spread.
Student protests also rocked Kashmir University in Srinagar, Islamic University of Science and Technology in Awantipora in south Kashmir and Degree College in Bandipora in north Kashmir.