Vi­o­lence erupts in Kash­mir af­ter se­cu­rity forces kill mil­i­tants

Arab News - - INTERNATIONAL -

In­dian se­cu­rity forces killed at least three civil­ians and wounded about 70 in restive Kash­mir on Sun­day when hun­dreds of peo­ple tried to pre­vent them from car­ry­ing out oper­a­tions against sus­pected mil­i­tants, po­lice and res­i­dents said.

At least 17 other peo­ple, in­clud­ing 13 sus­pected mil­i­tants, were killed in gun­bat­tles dur­ing the day in south­ern Kash­mir, po­lice of­fi­cials said, the worst vi­o­lence in the re­gion this year.

When hun­dreds of peo­ple came out on the streets of Kach­doora vil­lage in Shopian district to try to halt a gun­bat­tle be­tween mil­i­tants and se­cu­rity forces, troops used tear gas and pel­let guns to dis­perse the crowd. They later opened fire.

Lo­cal res­i­dents said that af­ter the protests, the se­cu­rity forces called off the op­er­a­tion. Po­lice said five mil­i­tants and three soldiers were killed in the fight­ing.

Sep­a­ratists have been wag­ing a cam­paign against In­dian rule since the late 1980s in In­dian-held Kash­mir. Fight­ing also broke out in two other vil­lages in the re­gion on Sun­day.

S.P. Vaid, the state direc­tor gen­eral of po­lice, said the army re­ceived in­for­ma­tion on Satur­day night about mil­i­tants hid­ing in an area near Dra­gad vil­lage, about 50 km south of Kash­mir’s cap­i­tal of Sri­na­gar and also in Shopian district.

“In Dra­gad, seven bod­ies of mil­i­tants were re­cov­ered in­clud­ing top com­man­ders. They were killed in a gun­bat­tle,” Vaid said, adding that the owner of the house in which the mil­i­tants were trapped was also killed.

An­other mil­i­tant was killed in Dial­gam vil­lage in Anant­nag district, about 60 km south of Sri­na­gar, while one was caught alive, he said.

Au­thor­i­ties have di­rected schools and col­leges in Kash­mir to re­main closed on Mon­day to pre­vent any re­cur­rence of vi­o­lence, and re­stric­tions have been im­posed in sev­eral ar­eas.

Train ser­vices to south Kash­mir have been sus­pended as a pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sure, a rail­ways of­fi­cial said, and In­ter­net ser­vices in five dis­tricts have also been blocked.

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