May 6 (UPI) -- Police in India said security forces killed a top Hizbul Mujahideen commander amid a series of gunfights in the disputed Jammu and Kashmir region on Wednesday.
Jammu and Kashmir Police said three anti-militant operations were launched Tuesday night -- one in the village of Sharsali in Awantipora and the other two in south Kashmir's Pulwama district, where Beighpora is located.
At least one other militant was killed in Sharsali village following an "encounter" that started Tuesday night, Jammu and Kashmir Police said.
At the operation in Beigpora, Awantipora, police said a top militant commander has been "trapped" amid an exchange of gunfire. Senior officers have been monitoring the situation since Tuesday night, police added.
The Washington Post reported that protesters in Beighpora threw stones at security forces after Naikoo's death. Officials responded by suspending Internet and cellphone service there.
Police said they launched the operations in response to militants killing eight security personnel in two separate attacks.
Security forces also arrested at least one Jaish-e-Mohammed militant during another operation in Satura, recovering a cache of weaponry, including grenades, ammunition and at least one assault rifle as well as cellphones.
The activities come amid increased anti-militant operations conducted by India in Kashmir. On Sunday, at least seven people were killed in a gun battle between the Indian army and militants in the region. The day after, three Central Reserve Police Force members were killed in an attack in North Kashmir.
On Tuesday, Jammu and Kashmir Police Director General Dlibagh Singh told reporters to expect intensified anti-militant operations in Kashmir in the coming days.
"Tight security arrangements have been put in place around vital security installations and onwards anti-militancy operations will be further intensified," he said.
Kashmir, which is claimed by both India and Pakistan, has for decades been a site of contention, which intensified in August after the Hindu nationalist-led Indian government terminated the predominantly Muslim region's autonomy, sparking outrage in Pakistan.