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Indian police and paramilitary soldiers led a counter-insurgency operation in Srinagar, Kashmir last night according to AlJazeera. The clash led to the deaths of two alleged rebels in the Indian controlled territory, but the forces enraged locals. Residents claimed Indian troops set a civilian’s house on fire during the firefight.
Indian police claimed one of two killed was a Pakistani insurgent, who was believed to have been in Kashmir since earlier this year.
The insurgent was also accused of being responsible for at least two deadly attacks on Indian paramilitary soldiers in Srinagar.
Inspector General of Police Vijay Kumar said to the Hindustani Times: “They were given the opportunity to surrender after evacuating all civilians. However, they fired indiscriminately.”
The police added: “The bodies of the terrorists shall be sent to Baramulla for burial after the completion of all medico-legal formalities.
“The nearest family members of the killed local terrorist shall be allowed to participate in the last rites.”
But there was no independent confirmation of India’s claims, and one house was devastated by the operation.
Three other homes, which were believed to be unused to the rebels and were occupied by residents, were also partially damaged.
After the clash ended, enraged residents threw stones at the Government forces and chanted “Go India, go back” and “We want freedom”.
In response, troops and police shot tear gas and non-lethal shotgun pellets at the locals.
Srinagar has seen around 18 alleged militants killed by Indian forces this year.
Troops and police have launched eight counter-insurgency measures against believed rebels this year.
Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh added 180 reported militants have been killed in total across Kashmir.
He said: “Whenever any militant outfit tries to establish its base in Srinagar, we successfully corner the militant with the help of our intelligence and other sources.”
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Kashmir is a disputed territory bordering Pakistan and India, with control divided between the two countries.
Most Kashmiri’s are believed to support unification of the divided territory, whether as an independent country or as a Pakistani-controlled state.
India has blamed Pakistan for the unrest in the region, and said clashes were the result of “Pakistan-sponsored terrorism”.
But Pakistan denies India’s charges, and regards the unrest as a legitimate freedom struggle.
Kashmir was divided between India and Pakistan in 1947, with more than 94,000 Kashmiri’s dying in clashes with Indian authorities since then.
India and Pakistan, historically tense enemies, have seen tensions ramp up massively this year over border disputes.
India has also been clashing with China over territory, with Beijing forming close ties with Pakistan.
In June, 20 Indian soldiers were killed in hand-to-hand combat with Chinese forces in the Galwan Valley in Ladakh.
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