Forces Kill 8 Militants Including 2 Hiding in Kashmir Mosque

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Indian army soldiers stand in front of a mosque at the site of a gunbattle at Meej Pampore area of Pulwama district, south of Srinagar on June 19, 2020. — AFP

Clarion India

SRINAGAR — Eight militants, including two who were hiding in a mosque, have been killed in Kashmir valley during last 48 hours. The new fatalities, occurred in separate gunfights with forces on Thursday and Friday, take the death toll of alleged militants to over 100 this year, officials said.

The valley has specially been in turmoil since last August when New Delhi revoked its semi-autonomous status of a full-fledged state and imposed a communications blackout that has not been fully lifted.

One gunbattle at Neej, near the city of Srinagar, led to the death of one militant and a night-long standoff with two others who hid inside a mosque, officials said.

The forces used “tear smoke shells” on the mosque and later “neutralized” the two inside, Kashmir’s inspector general of police Vijay Kumar said in a Twitter statement.

There were no immediate independent accounts of the incident.

Five militants who hid in an underground shelter in an apple orchard in Shopian district were killed in a separate operation, the police said.

The shootouts have also sparked clashes between government forces and villagers who generally support the militants.

The counter-insurgency operations in the region have been beefed up amidst restrictions imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus. A top army commander said on Friday that by June-end there will be no active militants in the most restive districts of the valley.

In recent weeks the armies of Pakistan and India have exchanged heavy artillery fire along the Line of Control leaving several people, including civilians, dead.

(With inputs from AFP)

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