NEW DELHI, March 13 (KUNA) -- At least five Indian soldiers and two
unidentified rebels were killed in a gun battle in the Indian-administered
Kashmir, local police reported on Wednesday.
Police officials said the militants entered a closed school and opened
indiscriminate firing on the adjoining Center Reserve Police Force (CRPF)
camp, triggering a gun battle that also left seven soldiers injured.
"The school was shut and no children were injured in the attack," Kashmir
police chief Shiv Murari Sahai told media. He said, "Two militants have been
The attacks have come at a time when the entire valley is observing a
general strike called by separatists who're demanding the body of a Kashmiri
rebel Afzal Guru who was hanged and buried in New Delhi on February 9 this
year for his role in attacking Indian parliament in 2001.
Since Guru's death, the valley has seen some of the violent stone pelting
protests against government soldiers that have already left five people dead,
over 600 soldiers injured and about 500 government vehicles damaged, according
to security officials.
The Wednesday's attack is being seen as a comeback of militants who struck
in Srinagar after three years. The last major attack on Indian soldiers was in
2010 when a CRPF camp in Srinagar's key business nerve Lal Chowk was targeted.
The state's pro-India Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has, meanwhile,
condemned the attack.
Police sources told KUNA that the heavily armed militants entered a Police
Public School before firing upon a group of CRPF personnel killing five of
"The militants hurled grenades and fired in all directions. The attack was
sudden. They (CRPF personnel) were caught unaware," official sources said
adding the firing is still going and the entire area has been cordoned.
Sources say one more militant is engaging the soldiers in a gun fight that
has lessened when this report was filed.
No militant outfit has claimed the responsibility so far.
Anti-New Delhi sentiments run deep in Muslim-majority Kashmir where over a
dozen separatist guerrillas favoring independence or merger with neighboring
Pakistan are fighting Indian troops since 1989. The conflict in the
mountainous Himalayan region has already consumed over 70,000 lives, according
to one estimate.
Both India and Pakistan rule disputed Kashmir in portions but claim Kashmir
in entirety. A small portion of Kashmir called Aksai Chin remains under
Chinese control following Sino-India war of 1962. India and Pakistan have
fought two of their three wars over the divided territory. Pakistan
controls almost 33 percent of Kashmir, India about 45 percent and China the
rest. Pakistan says Kashmiris should be allowed to vote, according to UN
resolutions, on their future, while the entire region is claimed by New Delhi
as its integral part.
A ceasefire since 2003 on the de facto border called Line of Control (LoC)
has, however, de-escalated the tension between both countries to a greater
extent but stray incidents of border clashes between both armies keeps on
puncturing the peace process.
The Muslim-majority Kashmir has been hit by violent anti-India protests
ever since Guru's hanging. Many people believe Guru did not receive a fair
KUNA 131355 Mar 13NNNN