3 militants killed in Kashmir clash with Indian forces
Locals protest after 3 Kashmiri militants killed in shootout with Indian forces
08.12.2016 By Zahid Rafiq
SRINAGAR, Indian held Kashmir
At least three militants were killed during a long shootout with Indian forces in Indian-held Kashmir on Thursday.Police officials in south Kashmir, who could not be named as they were not cleared to speak to media, told Anadolu Agency they had received information about militants being in the area on Wednesday evening.
“A heavy joint team of police, army and paramilitary forces together cordoned off the area on Wednesday night and after a gunbattle in the morning, the three militants were killed late Thursday morning,” the police officer said.
He said they belong to the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group which India holds responsible for several attacks on its soil and in Indian-held Kashmir.
All the three slain militants were local Kashmiris from the Kulgam area of south Kashmir and, according to locals, tens of hundreds protested as soon as news spread of the killings.“People came out in various places in Anantnag and Kulgam districts and shouted pro-Independence slogans and at some places people also clashed with the Indian forces,” a local, Mohammad Yaqoob Rather, told Anadolu Agency.The Indian-backed government in the region immediately clamped down on mobile networks and Internet services in south Kashmir to cut communication.
In July, the killing of 21-year-old Kashmiri militant commander Burhan Wani led to a widespread unrest with hundreds of thousands of people taking to the streets to demand independence from Indian rule.
Indian forces killed more than 100 civilians and wounded over 10,000 people according to the figures from the health department. Many of the injured were blinded by the use of metal pellets to disperse crowds and thousands were jailed.
Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full.
The two countries have fought three wars – in 1948, 1965 and 1971 – since they were partitioned in 1947, two of which were fought over Kashmir.
Since 1989, Kashmiri resistance groups in Indian-held Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.
More than 70,000 people have reportedly been killed in the conflict so far, most of them by the Indian Armed forces. India maintain