Indian forces kill 2 suspected rebels in Kashmir gunbattle
SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Indian government forces killed two suspected rebels in a gunbattle Saturday in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, an Indian army official said.
The fighting erupted as soldiers and police were cordoning off the northern village of Thagund after receiving a tip that militants were hiding there, army spokesman Lt. Col. Nitin N. Joshi said, noting the militants had opened fire in an attempt to break through the barricade.
Rebel groups have been fighting in the disputed region since 1989 to win Kashmir’s independence or have the Indian-controlled portion merge with Pakistan.
More than 68,000 people have died in the conflict, though incidents of violence have largely been suppressed by Indian forces.
Public opposition to Indian rule remains widespread in the mostly Muslim territory, with street protests erupting frequently and youths hurling stones at government forces.