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Iran Press TV

Indian army says killed 2 militants in shootout in Kashmir

Iran Press TV

Sun May 14, 2017 4:18PM

Indian forces have killed two suspected militants during a fierce gun battle in a northern town in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

Indian army spokesman Rajesh Kalia said on Sunday that the militants were killed in clashes with security forces near the town of Handwara, located about 70 kilometers from the main city of Srinagar.

The fierce fighting erupted after government forces surrounded a thickly forested area after receiving an intelligence tip-off, the spokesman added.

On May 4, thousands of Indian soldiers and paramilitary forces launched a huge operation against suspected militants across the violence-hit valley. The operation was launched early Thursday in Shopian district south of Srinagar.

Witnesses and local residents accused Indian troops of attacking private homes during the large-scale offensive.

Indian troops are in constant clashes with fighters seeking independence in Kashmir. About 500,000 Indian soldiers are deployed in the disputed region.

Suspected militants are frequently killed in shoot-outs with Indian forces across the region, but they are only rarely captured alive.

The Muslim-majority region has witnessed an increase in mass protests and violent attacks since early July 2016, when Burhan Wani, a top figure in a pro-independence group, was killed in a shootout with Indian troops.

Nearly 100 people have lost their lives and more than 12,000 have been injured in the ensuing crackdown.

In recent months, the use of pellet guns by Indian forces in Kashmir has drawn widespread criticism as the weapons have caused permanent disabilities among victims.

The crackdown has failed to halt the protests against Indian rule in Kashmir.

The region is claimed in full by both India and Pakistan since the two gained independence from Britain in 1947. The two countries have fought three wars over the disputed territory.

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