Army Says 7 Rebels, 1 Soldier Killed In Clashes With Militants In Indian Kashmir

1 July 2008

Srinagar: Seven suspected Islamic militants and one Indian soldier died in gunbattles in India's portion of Kashmir this week, an army spokesman said Wednesday. The rebels have engaged in sporadic fighting with soldiers in India's Jammu-Kashmir state since Monday, said Col. Uma Maheshwari, a spokesman for the Indian army. Maheshwari said the guerrillasapparently infiltrated Indian territory from across the de facto border with Pakistan and that the army was searching for other infiltrators. A rebel and an army officer were killed in fighting Monday, and six rebels were shot dead Tuesday, he said. The fighting took place in Tangdar region, roughly 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Srinagar, the state capital, Maheshwari said. There was no independent confirmation of the gunbattle and no rebel group claimed responsibility. Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan, but claimed by both. The two countries have fought two wars over the Himalayan territory since they gained independence from Britain in 1947. Rebels have been fighting since 1989 to win Kashmir's independence or have the Indian-controlled two-thirds of the predominantly Muslim Himalayan region merged with Pakistan. More than 68,000 people, most of them civilians, have died since the start of the rebellion.