Four killed in gunbattle in Indian Kashmir
Suspected rebels tried to storm an Indian military camp in Kashmir, sparking a fierce gunbattle that left a civilian and three militants dead near the border between the Indian and Pakistanicontrolled parts of the Himalayan region, officials said Monday.
The fighting began after a group of heavily armed militants entered the Indian part of Kashmir from the Pakistani side, said Garib Das, a top police officer. They were spotted near an army camp in the Tangdhar region early Sunday. The intermittent gunbattle began after the militants were challenged by the sol- diers, Das said.
It was not clear how the civilian was caught in the firing, an army officer said, speaking on customary condition of anonymity. He said the exchange of gunfire had stopped early Monday.
There was no independent confirmation of the incident, which occurred about 150 kilometers (95 miles) northwest of Indian Kashmir’s main city of Srinagar near the heavily militarized Line of Control dividing the territory between India and Pakistan.
Three army soldiers and a militant were killed in a gunbattle in the same area last week.
Kashmir is claimed by both India and Pakistan. They have fought two wars over its control since they won independence from Britain in 1947.
India accuses Pakistan of funding and training the militants in the Pakistani-controlled portion of Kashmir and then helping them to infiltrate into the Indian side. Islamabad denies the charge, saying it only gives moral and diplomatic support to the rebels.
More than 68,000 people have been killed in the armed conflict that began in 1989.
Although the armed rebellion has been largely suppressed, public resentment against Indian rule remains deep and the resistance is now principally expressed through street protests.