Civilians Killed in Kashmir Violence

Indian soldiers in Kashmir are seen after a gun battle with militants on Tuesday.Indian soldiers in Kashmir are seen after a gun battle with militants on Tuesday.

Tensions are again simmering in the contested region of Kashmir after violence broke out on February 12 between militants and the Indian Army, killing civilians as well.

Kashmir is a Himalayan territory claimed by India, Pakistan and China. Separatists in the India-administered zone of Jammu and Kashmir have been agitating for self-determination since 1989.

On Sunday, four pro-independence militants, two Indian Army soldiers and one civilian were killed in what the Indian Army has termed a “shootout” in the district of Kulgam, starting a new chain of violent clashes between factions in the longstanding conflict, the Observer reported.

Kashmiri and Pakistani militants had gathered for a meeting in a house in the town of Frisal when the area was cordoned off by the police after a tipoff. 

France 24 was not able to contact the Indian Army for comment, but Lieutenant Colonel Rajesh Kalia told Reuters militants opened fire on army forces from inside the building. 

Videos posted online show locals gathering near the scene of the standoff, throwing stones at the soldiers. 

Another video posted on Twitter shows locals running away from buildings. Tear gas canisters smoke on the ground, while the sound of shots firing punctuate the cries of “Allah-o-Akbar” (“God is the greatest”). 

Local media reported that at least 25 civilians were injured when police used tear gas and “non-lethal pellet guns” on the group of protesters, and one of the wounded later died from his injuries at hospital. 

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