Indian Army martyrs two more Kashmiris in fresh act of state terrorism

Indian Army martyrs two more Kashmiris in fresh act of state terrorism

SRINAGAR: Indian soldiers shot dead two suspected rebels, on Thursday, during a pre-dawn skirmish in Indian-held Kashmir, army officials said, days after killing a top separatist commander in the disputed territory.

Army spokesperson, Colonel Rajesh Kalia, said soldiers and special forces police surrounded a home in northern Nathipora village, where they engaged in gunfire with separatists hiding inside. “Two terrorists were killed in the operation and their two weapons were also recovered,” Kalia told AFP.

The shootout comes amid renewed tensions and fresh protests against Indian rule in the territory following the death of top rebel commander Sabzar Bhat last Saturday in a gun battle with soldiers. Authorities imposed a three-day curfew in large parts of the Kashmir valley following Bhat’s death, and closed schools and colleges in many districts.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the end of British colonial rule in 1947 but both lay claim to the entire territory. Rebel groups have fought for decades roughly 500,000 Indian soldiers deployed in the territory, demanding independence or a merger of the former princely state with Pakistan.

The fighting has left tens of thousands, mostly civilians, dead. Younger Kashmiris have been increasingly joining rebel ranks since the shooting death of a popular Hizbul Mujahideen leader July last year.

More than 30 separatists have been killed by Indian soldiers since then, prompting more frequent clashes between rebels and government forces. -Agencies