Indian forces kill three militants in Kashmir’s main city

SRINAGAR, INDIA (AFP) – Three militants have been killed in a shootout with Indian government forces in the heart of the restive Kashmir’s main city of Srinagar, police said yesterday, two days after eight rebels died in another gun battle.

New Delhi has stepped up counter-insurgency efforts in the disputed territory since the nationwide coronavirus lockdown was imposed in late March.

The militants were killed in a firefight in the Zoonimar area of the densely populated old city of Srinagar, a police officer who asked to remain anonymous told AFP.

One home was destroyed during the clash. This was second such encounter in the old city, and took the death toll of alleged militants to over 100 this year.

Just over a month ago, the son of a top separatist leader and his associate were killed in the city.

The May incident – a day-long firefight that saw 15 homes blown up by police and soldiers – was the first armed encounter between rebels and government forces in Srinagar in two years.

Rebel groups have fought for decades for the region’s independence or its merger with Pakistan and enjoy broad popular support.

The fighting has left tens of thousands dead, mostly civilians, since 1989.