SRINAGAR, India (AP) — A boy was killed and four others wounded in Indian-controlled Kashmir on Wednesday in a blast from a grenade they found from the site of a previous day's gunbattle, police and residents said.
The grenade exploded as one of the kids started playing with it in a neighborhood in southern Shopian area, police said.
Two rebels were killed and two soldiers injured in the same area on Tuesday. The fighting triggered massive clashes during which a teenage boy died and at least 120 people were injured as Indian troops opened fire to stop residents from marching to the site to help trapped rebels escape. Troops also blasted two homes with explosives.
The dead boy's two cousins and two neighbors also were injured and hospitalized.
Officials say counterinsurgency operations have become difficult in the disputed region because of the shift in public behavior as residents now display anger at Indian rule openly and violently when troops raid villages and towns to hunt rebels.
Earlier, government forces used to sweep areas where fighting would occur, said police chief S.P. Vaid. "Now as an operation finishes, forces leave the area as soon as possible to avoid confrontation" with locals, sometimes leaving behind unexploded explosives, he said.
Anti-India sentiment runs deep in Kashmir, a Himalayan territory divided between India and Pakistan but claimed by both in its entirety.
Rebels have been fighting Indian control since 1989, demanding that the territory be united either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country. India accuses Pakistan of arming and training the rebels, a charge Pakistan denies.
Nearly 70,000 people have been killed in the uprising and the ensuing Indian military crackdown.