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Jammu & Kashmir: Two Kashmiri militants, two Indian soldiers killed

3rd Aug 2017
Jammu & Kashmir: Two Kashmiri militants, two Indian soldiers killed

By Zahid Rafiq

 

SRINAGAR, Jammu Kashmir, India (AA): Two Kashmiri militants and two soldiers of the Indian Army were killed in two separate gunfights in the disputed Jammu Kashmir region on Thursday morning.

A major of the Indian Army and another soldier were killed when militants attacked a group of Indian forces in Zaipora village in the southern district of Shopian, army spokesman said.

Col. Rajesh Kalia confirmed to Anadolu Agency that Maj. Kamlesh Panday and sepoy Tanzin Chhultim were killed in the attack.

According to sources in the police department, who spoke to Anadolu Agency on the condition of anonymity, the forces had gone to the village on specific input about the presence of militants.

“But the militants took the armed forces by surprise and carried out a lethal attack. The operation is ongoing,” the police official said.

Earlier in the morning, the Indian forces killed two militants in Kulgam district in south Kashmir during another gunfight.

“The gunfight lasted half an hour. Forces eliminated two Hizbul Mujahideen militants who were involved in many cases,” Shridhar Patil, senior superintendent of Kulgam police, told media.

Both of the slain militants – Aqib Itoo and Suhail Rather – are locals of Kulgam district, police sources confirmed.

On Tuesday, top Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Abu Dujana, 26, and his 17-year-old accomplice, Arif Ahmad Dar were killed in a gunfight at Harkipora village in Pulwama district.

The killings led to civilian protests during which the Indian forces opened fire killing two civilian demonstrators and wounding at least 30 others.

According to data compiled by the Jammu Kashmir Police Department, 97 militants, 27 civilians and 39 Indian armed forces have been killed in gunfights, protests and ambushes in the region in the first six months of 2017.

Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.

The two countries have fought three wars – in 1948, 1965 and 1971 – since they were partitioned in 1947, two of which were fought over Kashmir. Kashmiri resistance groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.

More than 70,000 people have reportedly been killed in the conflict since 1989. India maintains more than half a million troops in the disputed region.

[Archive Photo: Indian security forces in Nowhatta area in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India on 15 August 2016. Photographer: Faisal Khan/AA]

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