Government forces kill 2 militants in Indian-controlled Kashmir gunfight

At least two militants were killed Tuesday in an overnight fierce gunfight with government forces in restive Indian-controlled Kashmir, police said.

The gunfight erupted at village Patchhara in Pulwama district, about 42 km south of Srinagar city, the summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir.

“Last evening a gunfight triggered here between militants and army, which continued throughout the night. So far two militants have been killed in the stand-off,” a police official posted in Pulwama said. “The gunfight began after an army contingent cordoned off the area on specific intelligence information suggesting the presence of militants.”

According to police, while the cordon was underway in the area, the army came under fire, which they retaliated and the exchange between two sides went on for several hours.

“No sooner the gunfight triggered additional reinforcement of police was rushed to the spot,” the police official said. “The searches in the area are underway.”

Indian army or police have not suffered any damage in the gunfight, police said.

Preliminary investigations suggest both the slain militants are local cadres of Hizbul Mujahideen, the region’s indigenous militant outfit.

Gunfights between militants and government forces take place intermittently in the region.

However, over the past three months, a steep decline in gunfights was recorded. Police officials attribute the decrease in gunfights to suspension of communication in the region.

Mobile telephone, text messaging and internet services were blocked in Indian-controlled Kashmir on Aug. 4 ahead of Indian government’s decision to abrogate special status to the region. Though mobile telephone service was partially restored, other services continue to remain suspended altogether.

A guerilla war is going on between militants and Indian troops stationed in the region since 1989.

Kashmir, the Himalayan region divided between India and Pakistan, is claimed by both in full. Since their independence from Britain, the two countries have fought three wars, two exclusively over Kashmir.