Indian Forces Kill 6 Suspected Militants in Kashmir

Amin Masoodi
2016.05.27
Srinagar
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160527-IN-body-1000 The body of a suspected militant is carried on a stretcher following a gun battle near Tangmarg in Kashmir’s Baramulla district, May 27, 2016.
AFP

Indian security forces on Friday claimed to have killed six suspected insurgents in separate operations in northern Jammu and Kashmir state, while a massive combing operation to flush out suspected militants was underway in the northeastern Manipur state.

In Indian-administered Kashmir, one soldier was killed and two others were wounded in a 34-hour gun battle with suspected militants in Kupwara district and another exchange of fire in Baramulla district, the army said.

The Indian soldier who was killed in retaliatory fire in Kupwara, situated near the Line of Control (LoC), was identified as 36-year-old Hangpang Dada, army spokesman Col. N.N. Joshi told BenarNews.

“The bodies of terrorists have been recovered from the shooting site near the LoC. A sanitization operation launched Friday afternoon is underway in the densely forested area to clear the unexploded or unattended material, if any,” said Joshi, who is based in Srinagar.

The LoC is the de-facto border that separates the Indian- and Pakistani-controlled parts of Kashmir, a Himalayan region claimed in its entirety by both sides. A separatist insurgency in the Indian-controlled side of the predominantly Muslim region has killed more than 70,000 people since the late 1980s.

“The troops foiled an infiltration bid on Thursday morning and two terrorists were killed in intense firing the same day. Firing was suspended late Thursday night due to bad light and resumed early Friday morning. Two more militants were gunned down in the final assault around 1:30 p.m.,” Joshi added.

The identities of the four slain men had yet to be determined, he said.

In a separate operation in the Tanmarg area of Baramulla district, some 50 km (31 miles) from Srinagar, Indian security agencies on Friday killed two suspected operatives of Hizbul Mujahideen, a banned separatist group.

The operation followed the killings of three policemen in Srinagar on Monday. The twin attacks on the policemen were claimed by Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), which warned of more assaults on Indian security personnel.

The two slain men were identified as Mehraj Ahmad Bhat, 32, and Aadil Ahmad, 28, both residents of Baramulla district.

Without revealing whether the two men were suspected of taking part in Monday’s attacks on policemen, Uttam Chand, deputy inspector general of police, said their killings had dealt a major blow to the Hizbul Mujahideen.

“Both the HM operatives were involved in various terror attacks,” Chand told BenarNews without giving details. “They were holed up in an abandoned house. A trap was laid and after a brief exchange of fire, in which two soldiers were injured, we blew up the house.”

Manipur operation

Meanwhile in Manipur, security forces had launched a major counter-insurgency operation along the Indo-Myanmar border in the wake of a recent attack on Indian soldiers in the same area.

Six members of the Assam Rifles unit were killed May 22 in an attack by suspected operatives of CorCom, an umbrella body of insurgent groups comprising the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), United National Liberation Front (UNLF) and People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK).

Highly placed defense sources told BenarNews that the suspects were believed to have crossed into Myanmar after carrying out the attack in Chandel district.

However, they could confirm if there were any casualties.

Nearly 110 km (68.3 miles) from the Manipur’s capital, Imphal, Chandel district is a hotbed of separatist insurgent activity.

Among at least 21 operational insurgent groups in seven northeastern states, the United National Liberation Front (UNLF), Peoples Liberation Army (PLA), Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang (NSCN-K), and the Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL), are most actively waging war against India.

In June last year, 18 security personnel were killed in an ambush by militants in Manipur, after which the army launched a massive counteroffensive that led to the elimination of several rebels, including those holed up in neighboring Myanmar.

“Such acts of violence by insurgents strengthen our resolve to continue operations against insurgent groups with an aim to ensure lasting peace and prosperity in the region,” Indian Army chief Gen. Dalbir Singh Suhag during a visit to the site of Sunday’s attacks.

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