Soldier, suspected militant killed in Indian-held Kashmir

SRINAGAR: An Indian soldier and a suspected Kashmiri freedom fighter were killed on Wednesday during a gun-battle in Indian-held Kashmir, the latest clash in the restive Himalayan region, a police officer said.


Acting on a tip-off, the Indian forces confronted at least one militant inside a house in the village of Ladoora 70 kilometres northwest of the main city of Srinagar.

“One militant was killed and we had a fatal casualty of a soldier in the initial stage of the gunbattle,” Gharib Das, deputy inspector general of police for the area, told AFP.

Das said it was unclear if more militants were in the area.

Government forces killed four suspected rebels last Thursday and captured another during a day-long battle in forests in the same area.

Several rebel groups have for decades battled hundreds of thousands of Indian troops deployed in the region, seeking independence for Kashmir or its merger with Pakistan.

The conflict has left tens of thousands, mostly civilians, dead.

Indian and Pakistan border security chiefs are preparing to meet in New Delhi this month amid an increase in firing across their de facto border dividing the region.

Kashmir has been split between India and Pakistan but claimed in its entirety by both since the end of British colonial rule in 1947.

Islamabad says it only provides moral and diplomatic support for the Kashmiri people’s struggle for the right to self-determination.

Since 1989 several rebel groups have been fighting hundreds of thousands of Indian forces deployed in the region, for independence or a merger of the territory with Pakistan. Tens of thousands, mostly civilians, have been killed in the fighting.