Eleven Militants, Soldier Killed In Indian Kashmir: Police

28 September 2008
Agence France-Presse

Srinagar: An Indian soldier and 11 Muslim militants were killed in fighting in Kashmir after unseasonably cold weather forced rebels out of the mountains, police said Sunday. Seven Islamic militants and an Indian army soldier were killed in protracted gunbattles in the forests of Kangan, northeast of Srinagar, army spokesman Anil Kumar Mathur said. 'We expect more militants in the area, hence searches are still on,' he said. Four other militants were killed in the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley in two separate battles, a police statement said Sunday. 'One of the dead militants was identified as Abu Khubaib, a Pakistani,' the statement said, adding he was serving as a 'launching commander' for hardline rebel group Lashkar-e-Toiba. 'He used to receive and launch militants who would cross the Line of Control,' it said, referring to the de facto border dividing Kashmir between India and Pakistan. Violence involving government troops and militants has increased in the foothills of the Kashmir mountains after rebels began coming down to the plains due to the early arrival of cold weather. Rebels have been using mountain caves as their hide-outs. Kashmir is in the grip of a 19-year insurgency against New Delhi's rule that has left more than 43,000 people dead by official count. Human rights groups put the toll at 60,000 dead and 10,000 missing.