Jammu & Kashmir: 4 militants, Indian soldier killed in gunfights
SRINAGAR, Jammu and Kashmir, India (AA): Four militants and a soldier were killed in gunfights in the Shopian and Kulgam districts of Indian-administered Kashmir, which has witnessed a surge in violence recently, police said Wednesday.
In a statement, police said two militants and a soldier were killed in a gunfight in the southern Shopian district. The statement said one of the deceased militants, Adil Wani, was involved in the recent killing of a carpenter, Sageer Ahmad, who hailed from the Uttar Pradesh state of India.
Sageer was one of the five non-local workers killed earlier this month.
The family members of one of the slain youth in Shopian encounter refuted police claim that their son was a militant stating that he left his home at 9:30 in the morning to appear before a court in a royalty related case.
Muhammad Rafiq brother of slain Shakir was quoted by a local news gathering agency as saying that his brother, aged 22, was working as a driver. “My brother left home at 9:30 am, to appear before a court in a case related to geology and mining department,” said Rafiq. “At 12 in the noon, they called him but no body received phone and later it went off.” He said the killing of his brother in an encounter should be investigated. However, a top police official said that slain was a C-category militant who was involved in the killing of non-local carpenter Sagir Ahmad from UP. “Since last few years Shakir was working as OGW and was also detained in 2019 for some time in a militancy related case,” the police official said.
In the Kulgam district, two militants were killed in another gunfight, police said, adding the two were involved in the recent killings of non-local laborers.
On Aug. 5, 2019, the Indian government scrapped the disputed region’s autonomous status, raising fears of demographic flooding of the Muslim-majority region.
Tens of thousands of workers from several Indian states migrate to Kashmir from spring to late autumn for work. After the recent killings, hundreds have fled and many are planning to leave.
According to the police, more than 30 civilians have been killed so far this year, including five from the local Hindu and Sikh minority communities.
After today’s gunfight, the police said in a statement that 15 militants have been killed during the past two weeks.
A part of the recent surge in violence is due to an ongoing operation in dense forests spanning two districts, Rajouri and Poonch, in Jammu.
Nine army soldiers, including two junior commissioned officers, have been killed during the operation launched by the government forces on Oct. 12 to track down the militants.
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.
Since they were partitioned in 1947, New Delhi and Islamabad have fought three wars – in 1948, 1965, and 1971 – two of them over Kashmir. Also, in Siachen glacier in northern Kashmir, Indian and Pakistani troops have fought intermittently since 1984. A cease-fire took effect in 2003.
Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.
According to several human rights organizations, thousands have reportedly been killed in the conflict since 1989.
Additional report from local media
[Photo: A woman wails in front of her house which was blasted by Indian security forces during the gunfight between militants and Indian security forces in Drangbal area of Pampore in south Kashmir on October 16, 2021. Photographer: Faisal Khan/AA]
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