12 militants, 3 soldiers, 4 civilians die in Kashmir fighting

An Indian Army operation against militants in the Muslim-majority Kashmir Valley resulted in the deaths of 12 insurgents, three soldiers and four civilians Sunday, according to the Kashmir authorities.

An Indian paramilitary soldier uses sling to throw stones at Kashmiri Muslim protesters during clashes Sunday near the site of a gunfight with militants in Kachdoora in south Kashmir's Shopian district. Photo by Farooq Khan/EPA
An Indian paramilitary soldier uses sling to throw stones at Kashmiri Muslim protesters during clashes Sunday near the site of a gunfight with militants in Kachdoora in south Kashmir’s Shopian district. Photo by Farooq Khan/EPA

Also about 70 other people were wounded in South Kashmir’s Shopian and Anantnag districts as the armed forces cracked down on insurgents, authorities said.
“It is a special day for our forces,” Lt. Gen. A. K. Bhatt of the Indian Army said.

It was the largest one-day death toll of insurgents in recent years, the military said.

In the village of Draged-Sugan at least seven of the militants were killed. Director General of Police SP Vaid said all those killed have been been identified as locals and their bodies have been claimed by their kin.

Protesters demonstrated against Indian security forces. That included thorwing stones at the security personnel to back the militants, members of the Hizbul Mujahedeen and Lashkar-e-Taiba groups.

“For as long as the last Kashmiri is alive, we will come out to support militants,” Numaan Ahmad Malik, 27, a college student, who was wounded in the clashes and was treated at a hospital, said to The New York Times.

In retaliation, Indian officers fired pellet guns and rifles with live ammunition into the crowd. Also, the Internet was shut down by government to prevent additional protests.

At another battle site, around the village of Kachdora, there were shots and tear gas.

“For every 10 killed, 20 more will join until this land is freed from Indian occupation,” said Imtiyaz Ahmad, a protester in Kachdora.

By Allen Cone