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Iran Press TV

Indian army says killed six militants in gunfight in Kashmir

Iran Press TV

Sat May 27, 2017 9:18AM

The Indian army says its troops have killed six suspected militants during a gun battle at the borderline of Indian-controlled Kashmir.

According to Colonel Rajesh Kalia, an Indian army spokesman, the incident occurred early on Saturday after the gunmen sneaked across the Pakistani-controlled part of Kashmir into the Indian-held portion in western Rampur sector, an area around 100 kilometers north-west of the region's main city of Srinagar.

"Six terrorists were killed after the army foiled an infiltration bid in the Rampur sector," Kalia said.

In a separate development in the day, a gunfight erupted between government forces and militants in the town of Tral, located in the restive southern district of Pulwama.

Reports said the fighting began after Indian troops, acting on a tip-off, cordoned off the area overnight in search of at least three militants allegedly hiding there.

As clashes broke out between the two sides, hundreds of resident in Tral started chanting anti-India slogans and marched in an attempt to help the trapped militants escape.

Muslim-majority Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan but claimed in full by both since the two partitioned and gained independence from Britain in 1947.

The two countries have fought three wars over the disputed territory. They, however, reached an agreement to maintain a ceasefire in Kashmir in November 2003.

Since then, there have been sporadic clashes - with the two sides trading accusations of violating the ceasefire - but no major armed conflict between the two countries.

Relations between India and Pakistan have been strained in the past several months, with New Delhi blaming Islamabad for a raid on an army base in Indian-controlled Kashmir in last September, which killed 19 soldiers. The Indian army blamed Pakistan-based militants for the assault. Islamabad denies any role in the attack.

The volatile region has also witnessed an increase in mass protests and violent attacks since early July last year, when a top pro-independence figure was killed in a shootout with Indian troops. Dozens of people have lost their lives in the ensuing crackdown. Nearly 100 people have lost their lives and more than 12,000 have been injured during the 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, however, has failed to halt the protests against Indian rule in Kashmir.

India has already deployed around 500,000 soldiers in its portion of the disputed region, where militant groups have for decades been fighting for independence or a merger with Pakistan.

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