SRINAGAR - Indian police and troops killed five suspected militants in an overnight gunbattle Friday in a forested area of northern Kashmir, triggering anti-India protests by local residents.
Police and an army contingent began a joint operation around midnight near the Najwan forests, 35 kilometres north of Srinagar.
“The group of militants was leaving one forest area for another when we intercepted and challenged them. All the five were killed in the ensuing firefight,” superintendent of police Shahid Meraj told AFP.
He said all five rebels had come from Azad Kashmir around a year earlier and belonged to Hizbul Mujahideen.
Hundreds of residents gathered in the area after Friday’s deaths chanting “We want freedom” after the bodies of the five men were handed over to them for burial.
In a separate incident Friday night, the army claimed to have thwarted a bid by an unknown number of rebels to infiltrate from across the LoC in Akhnoor, 340 kilometres southwest of Srinagar.
According to the Indian army attempts by rebels to infiltrate into Indian Kashmir this summer have more than doubled compared to the same period last year.