Indian paramilitary soldiers patrol a street in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian Kashmir, 19 September 2023. EFE/EPA/FAROOQ KHAN

Gunfight with militants ends after 7 days amid increasing violence in Indian Kashmir

Srinagar, India, Sep 19 (EFE).- A prolonged gunfight between the government forces and militants ended after seven days in the southern district of Anantnag in India-administered Kashmir, police said on Tuesday.

Indian paramilitary soldiers stand guard in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian Kashmir, 19 September 2023. EFE/EPA/FAROOQ KHAN

At least two insurgents, including their commander, have been killed as one of the longest gun battles between the militants and security personnel drew to a close on Sep. 19, according to the authorities.

“LeT commander Uzair Khan has been killed, with the recovery of his weapon. Additionally, another terrorist’s lifeless body has been found. The Anantnag encounter has concluded,” Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Vijay Kumar told reporters.

“Search operation will continue to locate if there is any more militant in the area,” the ADGP added.

An electrician by profession, 28-year-old Uzair Khan had joined the militant outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in 2022, the police said.

An army Colonel, a Major, and a Deputy Superintendent of Police were killed in the gunfight in the forest village of Gadole on Wednesday. Another soldier had died a day after.

The Gadole gunfight lasted for seven days as the militants had taken shelter in natural caves over a hill, a police officer – who asked not to be named as he is not authorized to speak to the media – told EFE.

“Around two thousand forces personnel remained engaged each day, and used the most sophisticated weapons against the strategically positioned terrorists,” the officer added.

Kashmir has witnessed a surge in violent incidents as six armed forces’ personnel and seven insurgents died in the last one week in three different incidents.

On Sep. 13, two insurgents and two security forces members were killed in Rajouri district, while the army and police jointly claimed the killing of three militants in Uri, the northern area of the Kashmir Valley on Sep. 17.

India and Pakistan both claim sovereignty over Kashmir since the subcontinent was divided into two nations in 1947 along with the end of the British empire. The two sides have fought two wars and several minor conflicts over the dispute.

India accuses Pakistan of helping militants infiltrate across the Line of Control, or LoC – the de facto border in Kashmir -, and providing them with support, which Islamabad has repeatedly denied. EFE