–Five Indian soldiers, including officer, killed in firefight with Kashmiri pro-freedom fighters
SRINAGAR: Indian troops on Monday martyred three more Kashmiris in Pulwama district during a cordon and search operation, as at least four Indian soldiers were killed in a shootout with pro-freedom militants in the district.
According to Kashmir Media Service, the three Kashmiris, including a 46-year-old Mushtaq Ahmad Butt, were killed by Indian troops during a operation of Indian Army’s 55-Rashtriya Rifles, Central Reserve Police Force and Special Operations Group in Pinglena area.
Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police South Kashmir Amit Kumar claimed that two of the killed men were militants.
On the other hand, five Indian troops including an officer identified as Major DS Dondial were killed and a soldier was injured in an attack in the same area. The other slain troops were identified as Head Constable Seva Ram, Sepoy Ajay Kumar and Sepoy Hari Singh, an Indian police official said.
The official claimed that the Indian soldiers fired warning shots and the Kashmiri fighters fired back, unleashing the firefight in the district, 40 kilometres south of Srinagar. The official added that the fighters were believed to have escaped.
Indian forces have launched a massive hunt for Kashmiri fighters in parts of occupied Kashmir since Thursday’s bombing that killed at least 49 paramilitary troops. An explosives-packed van rammed a convoy transporting 2,500 personnel in the deadliest attack in Kashmir in 30 years.
India has an estimated 500,000 soldiers in Kashmir, which has been divided between India and Pakistan and riven by unrest since the end of British rule in 1947.
Kashmiris have been fighting for an independent Kashmir, or a merger with Pakistan, since 1989.
New Delhi accuses Pakistan of fuelling the uprising that has left tens of thousands of civilians dead. Islamabad denies the charge, saying it only provides diplomatic support to Kashmiris’ right to self-determination.