Heavy Clashes in Kashmir Enter 3rd Day

Heavy Clashes in Kashmir Enter 3rd DayHeavy Clashes in Kashmir Enter 3rd Day

Indian security forces battled for a third day amid heavy gunfire on Monday to clear militants who stormed a government building in the disputed Kashmir region and killed six people, officials and a witness said.

After a lull in fighting overnight, army commandos and police launched a fresh offensive to clear the five-story training institute captured by the militants. Gunfire and explosions could be heard at the building complex near Srinagar, Kashmir’s summer capital, a Reuters witness said. Indian Army and police officials at the scene said three or four militants armed with grenades and machine guns may be inside.

The police said one militant was killed on Sunday.

“This is one of the longest encounters in Kashmir in recent memory,” said an army officer, who asked not to be named.

Muslim separatists have been fighting Indian forces in the Indian portion of Kashmir since 1989. India accuses Pakistan of training and arming the rebels in the portion it controls and sending them to the Indian side, a claim its neighbor denies.

The attack began on Saturday when militants shot at a bus carrying police before breaking into the training institute. More than 100 people were inside at the time.

Three Indian Army commandos, two policemen and a civilian have been killed in the fighting. India and Pakistan fought two of their three wars since independence in 1947 over Muslim-majority Kashmir, which they both claim in full but rule in part. The third was fought over the founding of Bangladesh.