Militant attack kills soldier in Kashmir

Militant attack kills soldier in Kashmir
Updated 24 September 2013

Militant attack kills soldier in Kashmir

Militant attack kills soldier in Kashmir

SRINAGAR, India: Suspected separatist rebels killed an Indian paramilitary soldier and seriously wounded another Monday at a market in Kashmir’s main city, while a separate gun battle left a suspected militant dead at the de facto border between the India-controlled and Pakistan-held sides of the disputed Himalayan territory, officials said.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the market attack in Srinagar, in which at least two gunmen fired from close range at the soldiers as they were shopping, Inspector General Abdul Gani Mir said. One soldier died on the spot, while the other was rushed to a hospital.
About 225 km to the northwest in the Kupwara region, Indian soldiers killed a suspected militant who they said had fired on them after crossing the highly militarized Line of Control dividing Kashmir between India and Pakistan, according to an Indian army officer who spoke on customary condition of anonymity.
Troops recovered an automatic rifle from the slain militant, who had been alone, the officer said. There was no independent confirmation of the incident.
Both India and Pakistan claim Kashmir in its entirety, even as anti-India sentiments run deep in parts of the territory where rebel groups have been fighting Indian rule since 1989. More than 68,000 people have been killed in the conflict, though resistance is now mainly shown through street protests.
The rebels, armed with a pistol, shot the soldiers from the Central Industrial Security Force while they were buying vegetables at the market, a senior police officer said.
“One of them died on the spot and the other is hospitalised with critical injuries,” the city’s police chief, Ashiq Bukhari, told AFP.
About a dozen rebel groups have been fighting Indian forces since 1989 for independence or merger with Pakistan of the Himalayan region.
Tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, have died in the fighting.
Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan by a heavily militarised Line of Control (LoC) since the two countries won independence from Britain in 1947.
Overall militant violence has declined in Kashmir since India and Pakistan began a peace process in 2004, and attacks in Srinagar itself are rare now.
But there have been intermittent shoot and run incidents involving police and suspected militants.
No rebel group immediately claimed responsibility for Monday’s attack.
In July suspected rebels in Srinagar lobbed a grenade at a police vehicle carrying a prisoner who later died in a hospital.
Militants also killed eight soldiers during an ambush on the outskirts of Srinagar, the deadliest such attack in five years, marring a landmark visit by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
In a separate incident on Monday morning, India’s army said it had killed a militant who was trying to infiltrate the forested Machil area, 140 km northwest of Srinagar.
“He (the militant) fired on being challenged and was killed in the ensuing gunfight,” Col. Brijesh Pandey told AFP.
The militant’s body was found in the heavily forested area two kilometres inside the LoC, the de facto border between India and Pakistan, along with an AK47 assault rifle, Pandey said.