Indian army convoy drives near a building where suspected militants are thought to be hiding on the third day of a gunfight between the Indian army and suspected militants in Pampore, south of Srinagar on October 12, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
Two Indian soldiers have been killed during battles with Pakistani troops and suspected militants along the tense borderline in the disputed Indian-controlled Kashmir
region, military authorities say.
An Indian army officer stated on Saturday that one of the soldiers was killed during an overnight ambush on a military patrol, further alleging that Pakistani troops “provided covering fire” for the armed assault near the Line of Control dividing the disputed region between India
and Pakistan, AP reported.
Indian troops then opened retaliatory fire, killing a suspected “insurgent,” the reported cited the unnamed officer as saying, noting that he spoke on condition of anonymity since he was not allowed to speak to media.
The report further cited the officer as alleging that the militants “mutilated” the body of the Indian trooper before fleeing to the Pakistani side of the border.
The second Indian soldier, according to the report, was killed after the militant ambush prompted a cross-border exchange of fire between the rival nuclear-armed neighbors at a number of border posts.
An Indian resident of Gajansoo border village points out damage to property from cross border firing in Kanachak sector near Jammu on October 24, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
The Indian-controlled Kashmir has been the site of near daily violence since July, when Burhan Wani, a major figure in the pro-independence Hizb-ul-Mujahideen group, was killed in a shootout with Indian soldiers in the region’s Kokernag area.
Since then, at least 90 people, most of them youth protesters, have been killed and more than 12,000 wounded during clashes in the disputed territory. Thousands more have also been taken into custody.
Schools, shops and most banks have remained shut while authorities have suspended mobile phone and Internet services in the restive region.
Kashmir lies at the heart of a bitter territorial dispute since India and Pakistan became independent in 1947.
New Delhi and Islamabad both claim the Himalayan region in full, but rule parts of it.
India and Pakistan have fought two wars over the territory. The rival nations agreed to a ceasefire in the disputed region on November 26, 2003, and launched a peace process the following year. Since then, there have been sporadic clashes, with the two sides trading blames of violating the truce along their de facto border dividing the disputed region.