No fewer than seven people have died during a clash where Indian security forces shot dead six militants and one soldier in a series of operations in disputed Kashmir, India.
The clash was said to be as a result of a crackdown against insurgent groups which continues after a spate of civilian killings this year.
Confirming the clash on Thursday, the Kashmir valley’s police chief, Vijay Kumar stated that Six militants, including two Pakistan nationals, have been killed in two separate encounters with the security forces in Anantnag and Kulgam districts of Kashmir.
“An Indian army soldier was also killed in the back-to-back gun battles that took place in southern Kashmir” he said.
As gathered, India has long accused Pakistan of stoking an insurgency since the 1990s in Kashmir – a Himalayan region that both nuclear-armed neighbours claim in full but control only parts of.
Islamabad denies the charge, saying it only provides diplomatic and moral backing for the self-determination of Kashmiri people.
Earlier this year, the disputed region witnessed a wave of civilian killings, with militants seemingly targeting non-Kashmiris, including migrant workers, and members of the minority Hindu and Sikh communities in the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley. Indian forces in the heavily-militarised region responded with a widespread crackdown.
According to a police official who declined to be named, Anti-insurgency operations in federally-administered Jammu and Kashmir continue with more than 189 militants and 44 security personnel killed in Kashmir this year.
“Forty-one civilians were killed this year as compared to last year when 33 civilians were killed in militancy related incidents,” he said.