India’s Srinagar — Government troops killed five suspected militants in two clashes in India-controlled Kashmir on Tuesday, police said.
According to police, the first clash occurred after a raid by soldiers and rebel police in the Imamsahib area of southern Shopian. Police blocked the area late Monday, leading to a shootout after militants refused to surrender. Police said three militants were killed in the fight early Tuesday.
Residents said the army had blown up a civilian house with explosives during the battle. This is a common tactic by the Indian army in Kashmir.
Two suspected militants were killed in an apple orchard during a counterinsurgency in the village of Filipola, also in southern Shoppian, in another clash on Tuesday, police said.
Five Indian soldiers were killed in the worst gun battle with militants this year in the woodlands of southern Surankot on Monday. Indian Army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Debender Anand said the army continued its search operations in the area on Tuesday.
Violence is on the rise as government troops crack down on the Kashmir Valley after a series of targeted killings in the region’s major city, Srinagar, last week. Police shot and killed a prominent Hindu chemist in Kashmir, two school teachers of Hindu and Sikh faith, and Hindu stalls in Bihar, eastern India, after a radical suspect shot and killed 700. More than one person was detained for interrogation.
Police said in a statement that one of the militants killed on Tuesday was involved in the killing of the stalls.
India and Pakistan claim the entire divided territory of Kashmir.
Rebels in Kashmir’s Indian-controlled territories have been fighting control of New Delhi since 1989. Most Muslim Kashmirs, under Pakistan’s control or as an independent state, support the rebels’ goal of uniting their territory.
India claims that the Kashmir militants are Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. Pakistan has denied the charges, and most Kashmirs consider it a legitimate free struggle. Tens of thousands of civilians, rebels, and government troops were killed in the conflict.