Asia

Gunbattle triggers anti-India clashes in Kashmir

  • Indian soldiers block a road near the site of a gun battle at Arwani, 55 kilometers (34 miles) south of Srinagar, Indian-controlled Kashmir, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016. Dozens of civilians in Indian-controlled Kashmir were injured on Thursday as anti-India clashes erupted in the disputed region following a gun battle between rebels and government forces, officials and witnesses said. (AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan)

    Indian soldiers block a road near the site of a gun battle at Arwani, 55 kilometers (34 miles) south of Srinagar, Indian-controlled Kashmir, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016. Dozens of civilians in Indian-controlled Kashmir were injured on Thursday as anti-India clashes erupted in the disputed region following a gun battle between rebels and government forces, officials and witnesses said. (AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan)  (The Associated Press)

  • Indian soldiers stand guard near the site of a gun battle at Arwani, 55 kilometers (34 miles) south of Srinagar, Indian-controlled Kashmir, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016. Dozens of civilians in Indian-controlled Kashmir were injured on Thursday as anti-India clashes erupted in the disputed region following a gun battle between rebels and government forces, officials and witnesses said. (AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan)

    Indian soldiers stand guard near the site of a gun battle at Arwani, 55 kilometers (34 miles) south of Srinagar, Indian-controlled Kashmir, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016. Dozens of civilians in Indian-controlled Kashmir were injured on Thursday as anti-India clashes erupted in the disputed region following a gun battle between rebels and government forces, officials and witnesses said. (AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan)  (The Associated Press)

  • Indian soldiers block a road near the site of a gun battle at Arwani, 55 kilometres (34 miles) south of Srinagar, Indian-controlled Kashmir, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016. Dozens of civilians in Indian-controlled Kashmir were injured on Thursday as anti-India clashes erupted in the disputed region following a gun battle between rebels and government forces, officials and witnesses said. (AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan)

    Indian soldiers block a road near the site of a gun battle at Arwani, 55 kilometres (34 miles) south of Srinagar, Indian-controlled Kashmir, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016. Dozens of civilians in Indian-controlled Kashmir were injured on Thursday as anti-India clashes erupted in the disputed region following a gun battle between rebels and government forces, officials and witnesses said. (AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan)  (The Associated Press)

Dozens of people have been injured in anti-India clashes that erupted in Indian-controlled Kashmir following a gunbattle between rebels and government forces.

Police say the gunbattle began Thursday after soldiers and police cordoned off southern Arwani village, and militants hiding there began firing in an attempt to break through the siege.

As the fighting raged, thousands of people from neighboring villages marched to Arwani in an attempt to help the trapped rebels escape.

Indian forces fired shotgun pellets and tear gas to disperse the rock-throwing protesters.

Witnesses said at least 40 civilians were injured in the clashes.

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan but claimed by both. Most people in the Indian-controlled portion favor independence or a merger with Pakistan.