Indian soldier among five killed in IHK gun-battles

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  • Thousands participate in funerals of Kashmiri victims

SRINAGAR: At least four local people dubbed as ‘militants’ and an Indian Army soldier were killed in three separate gun-battles in India-held Kashmir, officials said on Tuesday.

The police claimed that the suspects were killed overnight as fighting broke out after the government forces cordoned off the forested village of Kellar in southern Kashmir. On Tuesday, thousands participated in funerals for the three locals, chanting slogans including “We want freedom” and “Go India, go back.”

The villagers also chanted slogans eulogising the victims and hailing Pakistan. On Monday, the police said that the troops killed a ‘militant commander’ in the northwestern Handwara area. A police statement described the slain Kashmiri as a member of a militant outfit.

It said that he was the ‘mastermind’ of several attacks by the group recently, including last week’s strike by rebels after they stormed a paramilitary camp near Srinagar’s airport. One paramilitary officer and three militants were killed in that fighting. The Indian Army said a soldier was killed after militants fired at a patrol party in the Budgam area.

According to KMS, the youth identified as Zahid Mir, Asif Ahmad and Irfan Abdullah were martyred by the Indian troops during a cordon and search operation in Keller area of the district. Multiple rounds of prayers were held to accommodate the people, who had turned up to attend the funerals.

The youth were laid to rest in Ganowpora, Kathokalan and Heff areas of the district amid anti-India and pro-freedom slogans. The killing triggered complete shutdown in Shopian district. Hurriyat leaders Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Muhammad Yasin Malik and Syed Ali Gilani said that the Kashmiri people to continue their struggle for the right to self-determination.