A gun battle has erupted between Indian security forces and armed rebels in Indian-administered Kashmir, two police sources said, the first since mobile phone links were restored in the region in an effort to restore normalcy after a prolonged shutdown.
Soldiers on Wednesday raided a village in south Kashmir, following intelligence reports that armed rebels had taken shelter there, the sources, who declined to be identified, told Reuters.
There were no confirmed reports of casualties from the latest fighting, they said.
India on Monday restored some mobile phone services in Kashmir, two months after imposing a communications clampdown.
But text messaging services were blocked anew on Monday night when a truck driver was killed by suspected armed fighters, and his vehicle was set ablaze.
New Delhi cut off telephone and internet lines in Jammu and Kashmir in August before it revoked the state’s special rights, striking down long-standing constitutional provisions for the Muslim-majority region.
That affected an estimated seven million-plus people of the Kashmir Valley.
On August 5, Modi’s Hindu nationalist government abrogated Article 370 of the Indian constitution, which granted the part of Kashmir it administers a degree of autonomy, pushing India’s only Muslim-majority state into its worst political crisis in 70 years.
The move was accompanied by the deployment of an estimated 500,000 Indian troops and security personnel to the Muslim-majority state, where a pro-independence movement has been fighting the Indian state for decades.
India and Pakistan claim the Kashmir territory in its entirety but rule over parts of it. Many Kashmiris demand either a merger with Pakistan or an independent state.
The abrogation of Kashmir’s special status was accompanied by the detention of hundreds of political leaders and activists, including pro-India politicians as well as those who had been resisting Indian rule, from the region.