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Aagencies
May 4, 2020

Indian colonel, major, soldiers killed in Kashmir attack

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Aagencies
May 4, 2020


HELD SRINAGAR: Five security personnel and four freedom fighters were killed in two gunbattles in the Indian-Occupied Kashmir, officials said on Sunday.

Four army personnel, including a major and colonel, a counterinsurgency policeman and two freedom fighters died after a firefight in the Changimul village near the Line of Control, said army spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia.

They entered a home to ‘to evacuate the civilians’ but came under a ‘heavy fire’ from the freedom fighters inside the building, Kalia said. It was unclear why the men had entered the house, with a police officer, who asked to remain anonymous, telling AFP they had ‘walked into an ambush’.

On Saturday, two freedom fighters were martyred by the security forces in a brief shootout in the Pulwama area of the southern Kashmir valley, police said. At least 54 freedom fighters have been killed this year, including more than 30 since the start of the lockdown from late March, according to an AFP tally.

Early last month at least five Indian soldiers and nine freedom fighters were killed in two separate firefights over two days in the occupied valley.

Near-daily cross-border firing between India and Pakistan in Kashmir has occurred regularly despite the pandemic and the ongoing Muslim fasting month of Ramazan. Two Indian soldiers were killed in one such incident on Saturday, authorities said.

A senior Indian army official told an international news channel that the operation was launched following intelligence inputs about their presence in a house. It ended in the evening. A police official said a bullet hit Deputy Inspector General of Police, Amit Kumar in the leg.

"An armybrigadier was also wounded in the fighting," the official added. Local residents said three houses and a cowshed were blown up by the armed forces and one of the house owners, Mushtaq Ahmad, 43, who ran a textile shop in the village, was also killed.

"His house was among the one which was blown up, he is survived by his wife and two daughters, aged 15 and 11. He was dragged out of his house early in the morning by the army and killed.

“Another boy was also hit by a bullet in his leg," Ghulam Nabi, a resident. The police in a statement, however, said the civilian was killed after the rebels fired ‘indiscriminately’. The statement also said two of the fighters were foreigners and one was local.

The officials claimed that the freedom fighters belonged to Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) group. Residents said those who objected to the security operation were detained. "Several houses have been blasted. Many young people who were protesting have been arrested. There is heavy security and we are forced inside our homes," said 50-year-old Abdul Hamid. "We fear a backlash from the army after these incidents," Hamid said, remarks that reflect the unprecedented tension in Kashmir valley following Thursday's attack.