Several dead in Kashmir violence

A series of gunbattles between government forces and suspected Islamic rebels in Indian-administered Kashmir have left five people dead, including two policemen.

    Clashes between rebels and government forces occur daily

    Soldiers on Saturday raided Seer-Jagir village after receiving a tip that suspected rebels were hiding there.

    A gunbattle killed one suspected rebel belonging to the Hezb-ul-Mujahedeen group, a police officer said on condition of anonymity.

    Seer-Jagir is nearly 60km south of Srinagar, the summer capital of India's Jammu-Kashmir state.

    In Pungai village, about 200km southwest of Srinagar, an unidentified rebel and a police constable were killed in another clash, the officer said. An army soldier was wounded in the fighting, the officer said.

    Also on Saturday, another policeman was killed during a shootout with suspected rebels in Thatri, a village about 230km south of Srinagar, police said.

    Disputed territory

    Unidentified gunmen also shot and killed a shepherd in nearby Karapora village, police said.

    Clashes between government forces and suspected rebels are almost daily occurrences in troubled Kashmir despite improving relations between India and Pakistan.

    More than a dozen Islamic rebel groups have been fighting for Kashmir's independence or its merger with neighbouring Pakistan. At least 66000 people, mostly civilians, have died in the 15-year conflict.

    Peace initiatives by India and Pakistan since January last year have eased tensions in Kashmir.

    Nine separatist Kashmiri leaders are currently visiting Pakistan amid efforts by India and Pakistan to settle the decades-old dispute.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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