Indian forces on Wednesday killed two militants in Budgram district in central Kashmir, police said.
“As per ground verification, a top Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Naveed Jatt was one of the two militants killed today,” Jammu and Kashmir police chief Dilbagh Singh told media.
According to the police, Jatt was also a suspect in the killing of journalist Shujaat Bukhari.
Jatt, who allegedly hails from Pakistan, had escaped from police custody on Feb. 6, while he was being brought to a Srinagar hospital from the Central Jail for treatment.
There were reports of protests from several areas after the news of the killing spread. The Indian government has suspended mobile internet across Kashmir and all internet in the south of Kashmir.
According to figures from the police, over 223 militants have been killed in Kashmir this year compared to the 209 militants killed last year. At least 30 militants were killed in the month of November alone.
Jammu and Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.
Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars -- in 1948, 1965 and 1971 -- two of them over Kashmir.
Also, in Siachen glacier in northern Kashmir, Indian and Pakistani troops have fought intermittently since 1984. A cease-fire came into effect in 2003.
Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.
According to several human rights organizations, thousan./aa