Indian Forces Kill 17 Islamic Rebels
16 July 2005
Srinagar: Security forces in India's portion of Kashmir killed at least 17 suspected Islamic militants on Saturday, including 13 rebels who had entered the region from Pakistan, the Indian army said. The army killed nine militants after they entered the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir in the Sumanval-Gulmarg region, said Lt. Col. V.K. Batra, an army spokesman. The area is about 60 miles northwest of Srinagar, the summer capital of India's Jammu-Kashmir state. Four more suspected militants were killed near Keran village, 70 miles north of Srinagar, as they tried to cross the cease-fire line that splits Kashmir between India and Pakistan, Batra said. Elsewhere in the region, security forces killed four suspected rebels in separate shootouts, he said. More than a dozen Pakistan-based guerrilla groups have been fighting since 1989 for Kashmir's independence from India or its merger with Pakistan. More than 66,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in the conflict. India accuses Pakistan of aiding and arming the militants at training camps on the Pakistani side of Kashmir, a charge denied by Islamabad. Both India and Pakistan claim the Himalayan region in its entirety and have fought two wars over its control.