Thu Aug 3, 2017 5:32PM
Indian paramilitary troopers stand guard as Kashmiri pedestrians walk along a road in Srinagar on August 2, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Indian paramilitary troopers stand guard as Kashmiri pedestrians walk along a road in Srinagar on August 2, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

At least two Indian troops, including an army major, and two Kashmir fighters have been killed in separate armed clashes across the Indian-controlled Himalayan valley.

According to police director general S.P. Vaid, militants ambushed soldiers in the southern Shopian area as troops raided a village where rebels were hiding. Another soldier was critically wounded in the assault.

Separately, two Kashmiri rebels were killed as they walked into an ambush laid by government forces in southern Kulgam area, south of the main city of Srinagar.

Indian troops frequently clash with Kashmiri militants fighting for independence. 

On Tuesday, the killing of a top Kashmiri commander and his comrade by Indian forces sparked massive protests and violent clashes across the Muslim-majority valley. 

Abu Dujana was gunned down during a pre-dawn operation in Pulwama district. He was accused of orchestrating several attacks against Indian forces in southern Kashmir and had a cash reward of 1.5 million rupees (about $23,400) on his head.

Following the incident, authorities have suspended internet and train services amid unrest across the region. At least one protester has been killed and several injured in clashes in several places across the valley.

Kashmiri villagers shout slogans after a funeral procession held for suspected rebel Suhail Ahmed Rather in the village of Tantraypora in Kulgam on August 3, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The region has witnessed an increase in mass protests and violence since early July 2016 when Burhan Wani, a top figure in a pro-independence group, was killed in a shootout with Indian troops.

Over 100 people have lost their lives and more than 12,000 have been injured in the ensuing crackdown.

India and Pakistan claim Kashmir in entirety and have fought three wars over the region. India accuses Pakistan of funding and training militants in Kashmir, a charge denied by Islamabad.

Kashmir has seen a sharp increase in anti-India protests since government forces shot and killed Burhan Wani, a popular militant commander, a year ago.

New Delhi has deployed some 500,000 soldiers to the disputed region to confront pro-independence demonstrations in its part of Kashmir, where about 70,000 people have been killed since 1989.