Six killed as Indian troops clash with Kashmiri freedom fighters

By: AFP
Published: 11:38 PM, 8 Nov, 2020
Six killed as Indian troops clash with Kashmiri freedom fighters
Caption: UN rights chief said recently he stands by report on human rights violations in Indian occupied Kashmir.–File photo
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Three Indian soldiers and three Kashmiri freedom fighters were killed in fighting near the Line of Control (LoC) between Indian Illegally Occupied Kashmir and Azad Kashmir on the Pakistan side, the army said Sunday, in the deadliest clash to hit the disputed region in months.

The fighting began early Sunday after soldiers detected "suspicious" movements in the northern forested Machil area near a military fence that marks the de facto border known as the Line of Control (LoC), Colonel Rajesh Kalia said.

One Indian border guard and one Kashmiri freedom fighter were killed in an initial exchange of gunfire, before more troops were "rushed to the area", he said in a statement.

Two more soldiers and two more Kashmiri freedom fighters were later killed while two other injured troops were taken to hospital, Kalia added.

The clash was the deadliest since April when nine freedom fighters and three soldiers were killed in two incidents in Indian Illegally Occupied Kashmir.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since independence in 1947 and there have been regular exchanges of gunfire and mortars across the LoC.

The flare-ups have increased since August last year when India's Hindu-nationalist government revoked the restive region's semi-autonomous status.

Tensions have remained high since then and there has also been growing anger over a measure allowing outsiders to buy land in the disputed territory.

Many Kashmiris have accused the government of seeking to water down the local population in India's only Muslim-majority territory.

The nuclear rivals have fought two wars over Kashmir. Freedom fighter groups have been fighting against the Indian occupational forces for more than three decades over their demands for independence or a merger of the entire territory with Pakistan. The fighting has killed tens of thousands of people -- mostly civilians. 

AFP

Agence France-Presse is an international news agency.