'Militants Die' In Kashmir Clash
15 July 2005
Srinagar: Nine suspected militants have been killed on the Line of Control which divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan, officials say. An Indian army spokesman said an unknown number of infiltrators crossed over from Pakistani-controlled Kashmir late on Tuesday in the Gurez area. A fierce gun battle has been raging in the area since then and is continuing. Violence in the territory has abated since India and Pakistan, which both claim Kashmir, began talks last year. But on Monday, India's foreign minister told the BBC that 'terrorist camps' were still operating in Pakistan and that Delhi could provide Islamabad with photographs of the alleged camps. Pakistan rejected the allegations, saying there were no such camps in the country. Peace moves The latest clash is taking place high in the mountains in a snow-covered and forested area north of Indian-administered Kashmir's summer capital, Srinagar. 'The terrain in Gurez is difficult and militants are at vantage points which is making the operation difficult,' Lt Col Batra is quoted as saying by Reuters. Bad weather is also hampering the Indian troops, he said. Reports say heavy mortar shelling has been taking place since Wednesday morning. The India-Pakistan peace moves are aimed at ending decades of dispute over Kashmir - a region both countries claim in its entirety. Delhi accuses Pakistan of sponsoring a violent uprising in Kashmir, a charge Islamabad denies. India says that over a dozen militant groups, mostly based in Pakistan, have been fighting security forces in Jammu and Kashmir since 1989 to carve out a separate homeland or merge the Himalayan region into Pakistan. But Pakistan says it has given only diplomatic support to militant groups in the past and has now taken steps to ensure they no longer have bases in the country.