• Monday, July 22, 2024

INDIA

Militant killed, seven security personnel injured in Kashmir clashes

Survivors at a hospital said that the attacker continued firing on the bus for several minutes

Wounded survivors of the militant attack in Reasi town, receive medical treatment at a hospital in Jammu on June 11, 2024. (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

A SUSPECTED militant was killed and seven security personnel were wounded in clashes in Indian-administered Kashmir, police said Wednesday (12).

The first incident occurred late Tuesday (11) night in Hiranagar, a village near the frontier with Pakistan which, like India, claims the Himalayan region in full.

Security forces rushed to the border village, with a man killed in the resulting gunfight who police believed had crossed over from the Pakistan side.

“This appears to be a fresh infiltration in which one terrorist was killed and the search for one more is ongoing,” Anand Jain, a top police officer told reporters.

Hours later, suspected rebels lobbed grenades and fired at an army checkpoint in the remote Doda area around 100 kilometres (60 miles) to the north, leaving six soldiers and a police officer wounded.

Six of the wounded were transported to hospital for treatment, said police senior superintendent Javaid Iqbal.

“A search operation is on in the forest area,” he added.

The incidents came days after a gunman opened fire bullets on a bus full of Indian pilgrims returning from a Hindu shrine in the southern Kashmir district of Reasi, leaving nine dead and dozens wounded.

Survivors at a hospital said that the attacker continued firing on the bus for several minutes after it tumbled down into a ravine.

Army special forces and police have launched a manhunt in a vast forested area and released a sketch of the attacker, announcing a reward of $24,000 (£18,801) for information leading to his location.

India has around 500,000 soldiers permanently deployed in Kashmir.

The three back-to-back incidents follow an uptick in militant attacks in the southern Hindu-dominated areas of the Muslim-majority territory.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since their independence from British rule in 1947, and the rivals have fought three wars over control of the territory.

Since 1989 rebel groups have waged a violent insurgency, demanding independence for Kashmir or its merger with Pakistan.

The conflict has left tens of thousands of civilians, soldiers, and rebels dead.

Clashes between rebels and soldiers have drastically reduced since 2019, when prime minister Narendra Modi’s government revoked the limited constitutional autonomy of the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir.

India regularly accuses Pakistan of supporting and arming the rebels, a charge Islamabad denies.

(AFP)

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