Indian forces kill militants in disputed Kashmir, Pakistan condemns deaths

The militants were killed in two
separate operations on Saturday night by Indian troops south of Srinagar, the
main city in India-administered Kashmir, the Muslim-majority region’s police
chief, Vijay Kumar, told Reuters.

“We had launched two separate
operations on the basis of inputs about the presence of militants in these
areas last night. Five militants, including JeM commander, Zahid Wani, and a
Pakistani national, Kafeel, were killed,” Kumar said.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry condemned
the latest violence and called for international accountability for the
“extra-judicial killing of five Kashmiris”. It condemned what it
called India’s insinuation that a Pakistani fighter had been killed.

“The Indian occupation forces are
known to kill innocent Kashmiris passing them off as ‘alleged militants’,”
the ministry said in a statement.

Nuclear-armed Pakistan and India have
fought two of their three wars over Kashmir.

India accuses Pakistan of backing a
separatist insurgency fought by Islamist militants that has simmered since the
late 1980s. Pakistan, which controls part of Kashmir in the west, denies that
but says it offers political support to Kashmir’s fellow Muslims.

Indian police said 21 militants have
been killed in January, including eight Pakistani nationals. The Pakistani
ministry said 23 Kashmiris had been killed.

“In their unabated reign of
terror, the Indian occupation forces have martyred at least 23 Kashmiris in
fake ‘encounters’ and so-called cordon-and-search operations in the month of
January alone,” the ministry said.

Kumar declined to comment on Pakistan’s
statement but said Indian forces launched their operation after militants
killed a police officer on Saturday outside his home in the south of Srinagar.

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Last year, Indian Kashmir saw a wave of
killings of civilians, with militants targeting migrant workers and members of
the minority Hindu and Sikh communities in the Kashmir valley.

Indian forces in the heavily
militarised region responded with a widespread crackdown. More than 189
militants were killed in Kashmir last year, police said.

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