Eight Militants, One Civilian Die In J&K
29 April 2007
The Times of India
Srinagar: Eight suspected Muslim militants and a civilian were killed in the continuing separatist violence in Kashmir. Four of the militants were killed early on Sunday in a fierce gunbattle with troops in the northern district of Kupwara, army spokesman A.K. Mathur said. He said the fighting erupted when troops surrounded a forested hide-out and asked the militants to surrender. 'They instead opened fire, which was returned killing four of them (militants),' he said, adding the search operation was continuing in the area which borders Pakistan-administered Kashmir. Four more rebels were killed in two separate gunbattles with troops in the southern districts of Doda and Rajouri late Saturday and early Sunday, a police statement said. Police also said suspected militants shot dead a civilian in the southern district of Kulgam early Sunday. 'We are ascertaining why he was targetted,' police officer Fayaz Ahmed said. No rebel group has claimed responsibility. Kashmir is split between India and Pakistan, which have fought two of their three wars over the region since independence from Britain in 1947. The 18-year insurgency against Indian rule has left more than 42,000 people dead by official count. Rights groups put the toll at 70,000. Police are investigating five cases that came to light in early 2007 in which civilians were killed in custody and falsely labelled 'Islamic militants.' More than a dozen policemen have been charged with murder in three of the cases so far.