Indian security forces killed at least five armed rebels in the Indian-administered Kashmir on Tuesday as hundreds of Hindus fled the disputed Muslim-majority region after a wave of violence, reported Reuters.
Three Hindus and a Sikh were killed by suspected militants in Kashmir last week, prompting a police crackdown on what they said targeted religious minorities. However, as per the data released by the local police, 36 civilians have been killed in this year so far, 26 of whom were Muslims.
Since Monday, at least five Indian soldiers and five armed rebels have been killed in a series of gun battles in Kashmir valley.
The Himalayan region is claimed in full but ruled only in part by nuclear-armed neighbours India and Pakistan.
In two separate gun battles in southern Kashmir’s Shopian district on Tuesday, troops killed five armed Kashmiri youth, including one allegedly connected to a killing of a Hindu in the region’s central city of Srinagar, police said.
Kashmir valley’s police chief, Vijay Kumar, said the five were from The Resistance Front (TRF), which Indian authorities believe is handled from Pakistan.
Islamabad denies supporting the insurgency in Kashmir, saying it only provides diplomatic and moral support for the Kashmiri people.
Pakistan has strongly condemned the extrajudicial killings of five innocent Kashmiris in the Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday. In a statement, Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, “We stand with Kashmiris in their just struggle for the right to self-determination, as promised to them by the United Nations through various Security Council Resolutions”.
The violence has driven hundreds of Kashmiri Hindus out of the valley, including 4,000 who returned under a federal-government scheme after an exodus in the 1990s.
Sanjay Tickoo, a Hindu community leader, based in Srinagar, said that more than 1,700 people had left.
“We won’t go back … unless the situation normalises,” a Kashmiri Hindu employed by the government said at a protest in Jammu, declining to be identified.