Indian army soldiers take up position during the gunbattle with militants in Chadoora in Badgam district near Srinagar on March 28. Photograph: (AFP)
60 security personnel were injured. CRPF said the encounter was difficult because they had to fight both militants and stone-pelting locals
Three protesters were killed and 17 injured during a clash with security forces in Kashmir's Budgam region, PTI reported Tuesday.
Forty personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and 20 Police personnel suffered injuries in the stone pelting, the CRPF said.
The protesters had begun to pelt stones at the security forces even as they were taking on militants in the Chadoora area of central Kashmir's Budgam district.
The security forces fired pellet guns and tear gas shells at the protesters to try and disperse them, PTI quoted an official as saying.
The encounter, which ended Tuesday afternoon, left an army soldier injured. One terrorist was shot dead by the security forces, ANI reported.
The CRPF said the encounter was a particularly different one, as they had to fight both militants and the stone pelting locals.
CRPF Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Dr Sanjay Kumar called on the locals of the Valley to steer clear of their operations and not pose as an obstruction.
"I believe that the people of Kashmir should let law take its own course and not obstruct the operation as the operations are against militants. They should let us do our duty. We appeal to the people of Kashmir to stay away from the area of operations," he said.
The security forces had launched a search operation following a tipoff about the presence of terrorists, which then became an encounter. One terrorist was shot dead by the security forces in the encounter which ended Tuesday afternoon. An army soldier was injured.
The army had earlier warned stone pelters against helping terrorists flee from the security forces, ANI reported.
Army Chief General Bipin Rawat had said that those who disrupted operations during encounters will be treated as "overground workers of terrorists".
People creating hurdles during anti-terror operations and displaying flags of Pakistan and ISIS in Jammu and Kashmir will be dealt as anti-nationals and will face "harsh" actions, the Army Chief said.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has asked the Centre to explore an alternative to pellet guns to control protesters in Kashmir and also take action against parents of minors used as shields by militants during attacks on security forces.
This has been known to happen before in Kashmir, leading the army chief to say civilians who interfered with security forces' operation would be thought of as "overground workers of terrorists".
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said that the people of the state should realise that nothing could be achieved through war and violence and asked the people to come forward for talks.
The Chief Minister added that thousands of militants, security forces, civilians and police officials had died due to these attacks.
"Nothing can be achieved through war and violence. Every year thousands of militants, civilians, security forces and police officials die due to these attacks," Mehbooba Mufti told the press.