Suspected rebels kill three soldiers in Indian Kashmir
Suspected rebels killed three soldiers during firing overnight near the heavily militarized border dividing Kashmir between India and Pakistan, an army spokesman said on Monday.
Soldiers discovered their colleagues’ bodies on Monday morning during a search for militants in Hafruda forest, 140 kilometers ( 86 miles) northwest of the main city of Srinagar.
“We had three fatalities. The soldiers came under fire during the night,” army spokesman colonel N. N. Joshi told AFP.
Joshi said an armed militant was also killed in a separate encounter in the nearby valley of Lolab overnight.
On Sunday two suspected rebels, whom the army claimed belonged to the Pakistan- based Jaish- e- Mohammad group, were killed during a gunbattle in Tral area south of Srinagar. A soldier was injured in the encounter.
Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the end of British colonial rule in 1947. But both claim the restive Himalayan territory in its entirety and have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir.
Several rebel groups have for decades been fighting hundreds of thousands of Indian forces deployed in the region, seeking independence for the territory or its merger with Pakistan.
Indian often accuses Pakistan of training and arming rebels, while Islamabad says it only provides diplomatic and moral support for the Kashmiri people’s struggle for self- determination.
Tens of thousands have died in the conflict, mostly civilians.
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif last week proposed a new peace initiative with India over Kashmir, suggesting demilitarization of the disputed territory, after a surge in cross- border shelling.
The firing has killed dozens of civilians since last year.
Kashmiri Muslim villagers carry the body of a suspected rebel during his funeral procession at Barhama, 40 kilometers south of Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Monday, Oct. 5.