Asia

Five soldiers killed by militants in Indian Kashmir

SRINAGAR, INDIA (AFP) – Suspected militants shot dead five soldiers in India-administered Kashmir on Monday (Oct 11) in the deadliest incident since February, an army spokesman said.

“One JCO (junior commissioned officer) and four soldiers were killed during a search operation, probably by infiltrators… The operation is ongoing,” Colonel Devendar Anand told AFP.

The shootings occurred in a mountain pass near the Line of Control (LoC) dividing the area from Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

The shootings were the deadliest attack on military forces in the area since a ceasefire between India and Pakistan along the effective border was announced in February.

Kashmir has been divided between the two South Asian countries since their independence in 1947, with both claiming the Himalayan region in full.

For over three decades, rebel groups have been fighting Indian soldiers and demanding independence for Kashmir or its merger with Pakistan.

Tens of thousands of civilians, soldiers and rebels have died in the fighting. India accuses Pakistan of supporting the militants.

The region has been subjected to a legislative blitz since August 2019, with tensions soaring after New Delhi scrapped Kashmir’s semi-autonomy, applying new laws and scrapping others.

Tensions have been stoked again in recent weeks with a spate of shootings of civilians in the area in attacks claimed by an anti-India militant group, including two teachers last week.

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