Police kill six militants in Indian Kashmir shootouts
New Delhi, Dec 30 (EFE).- Police Thursday claimed to have shot down six militants, including two Pakistani nationals, in two separate shootouts amid an alarming spike in violence in the disputed India-administered Kashmir.
The Indian police said the slain militants belonged to the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militant group at the heart of military tension between the two nuclear-armed South Asian neighbors in 2019.
“(Six) terrorists of (the) proscribed terror outfit JeM killed in two separate encounters,” the Kashmir police said in a tweet.
Police said two Pakistanis and two locals were among the slain militants while the identification of the other two was being ascertained.
Vijay Kumar, police chief in the disputed Himalayan region, described the killings as “a big success for us.”
The shootouts took place at two villages south of the Kashmir Valley.
Security forces have killed more than 190 militants in Kashmir shootouts this year, provisional data from the South Asia Terrorism Portal showed.
The violence has also claimed 36 civilians, while 44 security force personnel have lost their lives in heightened violence in the troubled valley in 2021.
The Himalayan Kashmir region has been caught in an unending territorial dispute between India and Pakistan.
The region has been battling an armed rebellion since the late 1980s. India blames Pakistan for sponsoring a proxy war in a part of the Kashmir region it controls, an allegation Islamabad denies.
India and Pakistan have fought two wars over the region as both claim the idyllic territory in its entirety.
The JeM is one of the dozens of militant groups fighting against Indian rule in Kashmir.
The group has claimed responsibility for several attacks in Kashmir, including the Feb.14, 2019, bombing of a paramilitary convoy in which more than 42 policemen were killed.
The attack triggered one of the most dangerous military tensions between Indian and Pakistan as their air forces engaged in an aerial dogfight in which an Indian fighter jet was shot down, and its pilot captured and then released.
India-Pakistan diplomatic tensions hit a new low in August of that year when the Indian government revoked the semi-autonomous status of Kashmir and imposed months-long unprecedented military lockdown and communication blackouts.
Since then, the authorities have banned protest demonstrations and curbed rights in the volatile region.
A representative called Lieutenant Governor appointed directly by the central government governs the region that has been without an elected government since June 2018. EFE