Indian troops kill Kashmiri fighters

Indian troops have shot dead 17 Kashmiri fighters in Indian-administered Kashmir.

    Indian troops: Fighters sneaked across the border from Pakistan

    This comes as the hunt continued for fighters whom the army says sneaked across the border from Pakistan.

    Nine of the fighters were killed during a fierce clash with Indian troops along the heavily militarised frontier between India and Pakistan in Kashmir in the northern Baramulla district early on Saturday, Indian army spokesman Vijay Batra said.
     
    "The militants were challenged by the troops in the mountainous Gulmarg sector after being sighted. They were asked to surrender but they instead opened fire," Batra said.

    "In the return fire, nine of the militants were killed," he said, adding that reinforcements have been sent to the sector and sweeping searches launched to seek other militants. No soldiers were killed or injured.

    Bodies recovered
     
    Earlier on Saturday four more fighters were killed during an early morning clash in the Kupwara district near the heavily militarised ceasefire border between India and Pakistan.

    More than 44,000 people have 
    been killed in the ongoing conflict 

    "The four were killed during a clash when they entered our territory from across the Line of Control," Batra said, referring to the de facto border that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan.

    He said four other fighters were killed in the hinterland districts of Kupwara and Baramulla late on Friday and early Saturday.

    On Friday, Indian troops recovered the bodies of two more fighters in the snowbound northern Gurez area of Indian-administered Kashmir, bringing the number of dead fighters found in the area to nine since Tuesday.

    Batra said on Friday the dead fighters in Gurez were part of the largest infiltration into Kashmir since India and Pakistan began a slow-moving peace process to solve the Kashmir dispute 19 months ago.

    Pakistan accused

    Indian media, quoting army sources, say about 35 Kashmiri fighters have crossed into the Gurez area via snow-covered passes as high as 4850m.

    "The searches are on. We are seeking militants who might be hiding in the area," Batra said.

    India accuses Pakistan of arming and funding fighters in Kashmir. Pakistan denies the charge and says it is doing its best to prevent "militants" from entering the Indian side from its zone of the divided region.

    More than 44,000 people have been killed in Indian Kashmir since 1989, according to official figures. Separatists say the toll is twice as high.

    SOURCE: AFP


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