7 killed in Indian-administered Kashmir gun battles
Five Indian officers and two suspected rebels were killed in separate gun battles this week in Indian-administered Kashmir, with clashes ongoing, officials in the disputed region said Thursday.
On Wednesday, two Indian army officers and a senior policeman carrying out a security sweep in a forested area of the southern Kashmir valley were ambushed and killed, with the two suspected gunmen holed up and firing at soldiers encircling their position.
India's Kashmir police said their force had surrounded two men they said belonged to the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group.
"Our forces persist with unwavering resolve," police posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Four people were killed on Tuesday -- an Indian soldier, a police officer and two suspected rebels -- during a prolonged firefight in the mountainous Rajouri area.
Gunmen first shot dead an army sniffer dog that had led the soldiers to the militants.
The deaths are the latest in the troubled Muslim-majority region, also claimed by Pakistan.
New Delhi accuses Islamabad of fuelling attacks, claims Pakistan denies.
For decades, an insurgency seeking independence or a merger with Pakistan -- and military operations to crush that movement -- have seen tens of thousands of civilians, soldiers and rebels killed.
But the frequency of clashes steadily reduced since 2019 when Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government cancelled the partial autonomy of the region and imposed direct rule on Indian-controlled Kashmir.
Nearly 900 people, including at least 144 security forces personnel, have died in violence since then.
India's top court is currently weighing if the snap decision -- that triggered a drastic curtailment of civil liberties and press freedom -- was constitutionally valid.