Seven killed in latest Kashmir fighting
At least five pro-independence fighters and two Indian soldiers have been killed in a series of separate clashes across the restive disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, military sources say.
Military spokesman Col. Nitin N. Joshi announced that at least four Kashmiris and one soldier were killed during fierce fighting on Thursday in Tangdhar sector along the de facto border that divides the restive territory into India- and Pakistan- controlled parts.
Joshi also alleged that the four men had crossed into the Indian-controlled Kashmir from the Pakistani side.
According to the spokesman, one Kashmiri and an Indian trooper were killed and four other soldiers wounded in a similar firefight in the Machil area on Wednesday.
Also on June 3, at least three Indian soldiers were killed and nine others injured in a shooting attack by armed men against a convoy of paramilitary forces in Indian-controlled Kashmir.
On May 23, unidentified men armed with assault rifles and riding motorcycles sprayed a group of police officers with bullets in the Zadibal district of Srinagar, killing two officers on the spot.
The incident came as Indian troops are in constant clashes with the armed groups seeking independence across the Muslim-majority valley of Kashmir.
The New Delhi government has also deployed large contingents of police and paramilitary troops in the troubled region to prevent street demonstrations.
The restive Himalayan region lies at the heart of a bitter territorial dispute since India and Pakistan became independent in 1947.
New Delhi and Islamabad both claim the region in full, but rule parts of it. The two countries have fought two wars over the disputed region.
India and Pakistan agreed to a ceasefire in Kashmir on November 26, 2003, and launched a peace process the following year. Since then, there have been sporadic clashes, with the two sides trading accusations of violating the ceasefire along their de facto border dividing the disputed region.
Cross-border frictions have frequently flared up between troops from the two neighbors along the disputed de facto border in Kashmir. The two sides have accused each other of provocation.
Thousands of people have been killed in the unrest in Kashmir over the past two decades.