Indian soldiers killed three suspected militants in a gun battle Sunday in India-held Kashmir (IHK), the army said, as the region reels from weeks of deadly violence between protesters and security forces.
The ‘militants’ were killed in Tangdhar north of the main city of Srinagar after crossing over from the Pakistani side of the heavily militarised border that divides the area between the two countries, it alleged.
“Three terrorists were killed in the fight. Three assault rifles were also recovered from the site of the gun battle,” claimed army spokesman Colonel N.N. Joshi speaking to AFP.
The army was trying to determine if the ‘militants’ were part of the same group that attacked an Indian ammunition depot in the area on Friday, injuring at least three border guards.
IHK has been under curfew since protests erupted over the death last month of a popular young militant leader, Burhan Wani, in a gunfight with security forces.
More than 60 civilians have been killed in clashes between protesters and security forces, and thousands more injured in the worst violence to hit the Himalayan region since 2010.
Wani’s Hizbul Mujahideen and several other groups have fought for decades an estimated 500,000 Indian soldiers deployed in the territory, demanding independence for the region or a merger with Pakistan. Tens of thousands, mostly civilians, have died in the fighting since 1989.