Indian forces have killed eight suspected militants in disputed Kashmir, police said Sunday, in some of the fiercest fighting this year in the restive Himalayan region.
SRINAGAR, India: Indian forces have killed eight suspected militants in disputed Kashmir, police said Sunday (Apr 1), in some of the fiercest fighting this year in the restive Himalayan region.
A civilian was also killed and four soldiers injured in the region divided between India and Pakistan but claimed in full by both.
Seven militants were killed in a protracted overnight shootout with Indian forces in Dragad south of the capital Srinagar, where helicopters were seen swooping low over the battle zone.
One civilian died and at least fifty were injured as police fired tear gas and pellet guns to disperse stone-throwing protesters.
Another man, described by Indian authorities as a militant, was gunned down in a brief exchange of fire in a separate district.
Police said security forces were still taking fire from gunmen in the nearby village of Kachdora.
“It is a massive operation. The fight is still on,” inspector-general of police Swayam Prakash Pani told AFP.
Many civilians in Kashmir – India’s only Muslim-majority state – support rebels who have been fighting for decades for independence or for a merger with Pakistan. Tens of thousands, mostly civilians, have died.
Last year was the deadliest of this decade in the region, with more than 200 alleged militants killed in a counter-insurgency offensive dubbed “Operation All Out”.
That upsurge in violence has escalated in 2018, with 46 militants already killed this year.
Last month a three-day skirmish in the forests of northern Kashmir left ten dead – five unidentified militants and five government forces.
Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the end of British colonial rule in 1947 and the nuclear-armed neighbours have fought three wars over its control.