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Deadly Clashes Erupt in Kashmir

28 June 2007

At least nine people have been killed in confrontations between security forces and suspected insurgents in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

An Indian army spokesman, Col. Majinder Singh, says security forces have thwarted a major incursion Thursday in the Uri sector of Baramulla district on the Line of Control that divides the Indian and Pakistani-controlled portions of Kashmir. At least four suspected militants and one Indian soldier have died.

In a separate incident, security forces intercepted a van carrying suspected rebels near an army headquarters in the town of Kupwara in northern Kashmir. A police spokesman, Viplav Kumar, reported that three suspected militants were killed. A local woman was shot during the gunfight and later died. Her death triggered protests by local residents who blame Indian security forces for her death.

Also Thursday, the Indian military announced it was opening an investigation into the conduct of two soldiers charged with the attempted rape of a minor in northern Kashmir.

Hundreds of demonstrators on Wednesday stripped the soldiers and shaved their heads before marching them through the streets of Kunan village.

Indian Kashmir is in the grip of an 18-year-long insurgency that has claimed more than 45,000 lives. A number of rebel groups are fighting for an independent Kashmir or its merger with Pakistan.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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