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AFP
April 10, 2021

Protests in IIOJ&K as 7 freedom fighters martyred

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AFP
April 10, 2021

SRINAGAR: Indian security forces killed seven suspected freedom freedom in two clashes as Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJ&K) saw some of its worst fighting in over seven months, police said Friday.

Five freedom fighters were martyred in Shopian during one shootout that started Thursday, triggering anti-India protests in the area. The five became trapped in a raid by security forces and two took shelter in a mosque. Officers sent the brother of one of the two into the mosque in a bid to persuade them to “surrender” but they refused, police said. One of five fighters is the chief of Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, a police officer told AFP.

Police had previously said that Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, one of a host of groups fighting Indian rule, was wiped out last year.

Two other suspected fighters were martyred in a separate gun battle in the Tral area, police said.

Police declined however to give details of how the fighters died inside the mosque. Senior police were told this week to stop journalists going close to the sites of fighting or protests. Several journalists´ groups have expressed concern at the police move. One joint statement said “it appears to be a tactic to coerce journalists into not reporting facts on the ground”.

Freedom fighters regularly clash with the 500,000-strong government forces in the restive territory but Friday was the deadliest since August last year when 15 militants were martyred in three shootouts over two days.

It was also one of the deadliest since New Delhi brought the region under direct rule in August 2019 after cancelling its semi-autonomous status.