Fierce clashes between Indian security forces and a group of pro-independence fighters in restive Indian-controlled Kashmir have left at least seven people dead، PressTV said.
According to army spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia، the shootout occurred on Saturday when soldiers cordoned off a district in the northern area of Hajin after receiving a tip-off that armed pro-independence fighters were holing up there.
Six fighters were killed in the standoff he said، adding that one India Air Force soldier was also killed and another army soldier was injured.
The deadly incident came just a day after a pro-independence fighter and a police officer were killed on the outskirts of the main city of Srinagar during a brief shootout.
India labels people fighting against its rule in Kashmir as militants، saying they are being dispatched to the volatile region by Pakistan. Islamabad denies that allegation. Most of the people in the Muslim-dominated region want independence or a merger with Pakistan. Tens of thousands have been killed in decades of violence in Kashmir as India continues to deploy hundreds of thousands of troops to secure the region and to crack down on dissent.
Muslim-majority Kashmir has been divided into two sections، separately administered by India and Pakistan، since partition in 1947. The two have fought three wars over the territory. The pair finally reached a ceasefire in Kashmir in 2003. The United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) has been monitoring the border for decades. However، violence erupts from time to time.