SRINAGAR: At least two Kashmiris were killed on Friday in a gun battle in northern Indian-held Kashmir as tensions along the de facto border with Pakistan flared again this week.
An Indian soldier was also killed in the latest skirmish.
At least 116 Kashmiris, most of them young protesters, have been killed and more than 12,000 injured in clashes with Indian security forces.
Thousands more have been arrested since the unrest began on July 8, when a popular separatist leader, Burhan Wani, was killed in a gunfight with Indian soldiers.
Since then shops, schools and most banks have remained shut and authorities have suspended mobile phone and internet services across the disputed Himalayan valley.
Meanwhile, on the request of the Kashmiri leadership and All Parties Hurriyat Conference, locals in the Indian-held Kashmir were observing a ‘Prayer Day’ on Friday following which protest rallies would be taken out on the streets.
“UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon calls on all involved to prioritise the restoration of calm and stability in order to prevent any further escalation and loss of life,” the world body said in a statement.
Kashmir has been divided between Pakistan and India since the end of British rule in 1947. Both claim the territory in full.
Anti-India sentiment runs deep in Kashmir, where separatist groups have fought Indian troops since 1989 for either independence or a merger with Pakistan.
Tension between the nuclear-armed neighbours has soared after a militant attack last month on an Indian army base, with the two armies exchanging heavy fire and mortars across their de facto border in Kashmir almost every day, amid human loss.