Security officials said at least five people including four suspected Kashmiri fighters have died even as a gun battle between Indian forces and the fighters that broke out overnight continued to rage through the day.

The four Kashmiri fighters were shot dead by Indian troops in the northwestern Kupwara district, bordering Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

They were killed in the ongoing gun battle, that erupted after government forces searched the area on a tip off.

Security forces claim to have shot dead 16 Kashmiri fighters since Friday in Kupwara alone, including eight who were reportedly attempting to sneak into Indian territory from Pakistan.

The fresh bloodshed came amid calls by the newly elected chief of Indian Kashmir’s main separatist alliance for a truce between Indian forces and the Kashmiri fighters.

“It would be good if we have a ceasefire in Kashmir by both Indian troops and Kashmiri mujahedin,” Molvi Abbas Ansari of the All Party Hurriyat Conference said.

"A bilateral ceasefire at this point of time will help in creating a conducive atmosphere for talks between India and Pakistan"

--Kashmiri leader

“A bilateral ceasefire at this point of time will help in creating a conducive atmosphere for talks between India and Pakistan,” he stressed.

Despite a recent thaw, India and Pakistan have long been bickering over Kashmir.

India accuses Pakistan of sponsoring violence in Kashmir, a charge that Pakistan stoutly denies.

Violence has rocked Kashmir particularly since 1989, when the demand for the region’s independence from Indian rule grew louder.

More than 38,000 people have died in the resultant conflict since then.