Fierce gun battle kills four in Indian-administered Kashmir
At least four people have been killed in a fierce exchange of fire between India’s army soldiers and a group of armed men in Indian-administered Kashmir, police sources say.
Local police sources said on Friday that the fighting broke out after Indian military launched a targeted operation on an intelligence tip-off in Laribal village, located some 70 kilometers northwest of the main city of Srinagar on Thursday evening.
Gharib Das, the local deputy inspector general of police confirmed that at least two fighters and two Indian troops were killed during the encounter. “Two terrorists were killed and we lost two soldiers in the firefight with them.”
Kashmir has been the scene of violent clashes in recent years. Indian troops are in constant clashes with the fighters seeking independence in the area.
Indian forces have also frequently imposed curfews and restrictions on the movement of people there.
Indian authorities have deployed police and paramilitary troops to most parts of Srinagar and several other major towns to prevent street demonstrations.
Kashmir lies at the heart of more than 67 years of hostilities between India and Pakistan. Both neighbors claim the region in full, but have partial control over it.
The latest fighting comes as representatives from India and Pakistan have met in New Delhi to discuss security on the Line of Control (LoC), the de facto border that divides the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.
India, however, blames Pakistan for having a hand in Kashmir violence. Pakistan denies any wrongdoing, saying it will continue supporting the Kashmiri people’s struggle for self-determination.
In 2003, India and Pakistan agreed to a ceasefire along the LoC, and launched peace talks a year later. The process was, however, suspended after over 160 people lost their lives in the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, which New Delhi blamed on Pakistan-based militants.
Thousands of people have been killed in Kashmir’s violence over the past two decades.