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Iran Press TV

Clashes along Kashmir border kill four

Iran Press TV

Sun May 21, 2017 7:24AM

A gun battle between Indian soldiers and militants has claimed the lives of four people in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

An Indian army spokesman said the fatalities had occurred during a military operation on Saturday in Naugam area in Kupwara district, nearly 120 kilometers northwest of Kashmir's main city of Srinagar.

Referring to the militants, Colonel Rajesh Kalia said, "Two terrorists attempting infiltration into our side in Kashmir in Naugam sector were eliminated. Two soldiers were also martyred in the exchange of fire."

"A vast area has been cordoned off and additional reinforcements have been rushed to assist the already-deployed troops," Kalia added.

Indian-controlled Kashmir is one of the world's most heavily militarized areas in the world. More than 500,000 Indian soldiers are regularly deployed in Kashmir to crack down on protesters.

Over the past months, Indian and Pakistani forces have engaged in similar clashes along the Line of Control, the de-facto border that divides Kashmir between the two countries. Each side accuses the other of provocation, and the conflict has led to the death of many soldiers and civilians on both sides.

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 by the Indian army.

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 partitioned and gained independence from Britain in 1947. The two countries have fought three wars over the disputed territory.

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