2 Kashmir civilians killed in protests against Indian rule

Police say two civilians were killed and 18 other people injured in anti-India protests that erupted after a gunbattle between rebels and government forces in disputed Kashmir.

Inspector-General Syed Javaid Mujtaba Gillani said the gunbattle began Tuesday after police and soldiers cordoned off the southern town of Chadoora following a tip that at least one militant was hiding in a house.

As the fighting raged, hundreds of residents chanting anti-India slogans marched near the area in an attempt to help the trapped rebel escape.

Police said two civilians were killed and at least 10 civilians and eight police and soldiers were injured when Indian forces fired at rock-throwing protesters.

Rebels have been fighting against Indian rule since 1989. More than 68,000 people have been killed in the conflict.