By Fayaz Bukhari
SRINAGAR (Reuters) - Indian troops have killed seven suspected militants in Kashmir this week, including a district commander, in an offensive following recent killings by militants, police said on Wednesday.
Security forces said they had also killed two others suspected of helping the militants, but relatives said the two dead men were innocent and held a candle-light protest in Kashmir's main city, Srinagar.
Kashmir Police Chief Vijay Kumar said five militants believed to belong to a group named The Resistance Front (TRF), which claimed recent killings of migrants in the disputed territory, had been killed on Wednesday in two gun battles south of Srinagar.
He said two other suspected militants and two men believed to have assisted them had been killed in a shootout in Srinagar.
The two men's families denied they had had any links with militants and said the bodies had not been handed over for burial. Police said they had buried all four men north of Srinagar.
The Indian-ruled part of Kashmir is India's only Muslim-majority region, and more than 30 people have been killed in a rise in violence in recent weeks, including minority Hindus and Sikhs and migrant workers.
Pakistan also controls part of Kashmir, which has been at the heart of seven decades of tension between the two neighbours.
(Reporting by Fayaz Bukhari; Writing by Rajendra Jadhav; Editing by Kevin Liffey)