Clashes between fighters and Indian forces as well as street killings left six more dead in occupied Kashmir on Saturday, officials said, as the disputed Himalayan region battles a worsening wave of violence.
At least 28 people, including nine civilians, have been gunned down in the past two weeks as a decades-old armed rebellion has intensified in the disputed region.
Saturday saw two members of The Resistance Front (TRF) group killed outside the main city of Srinagar, police inspector general Vijay Kumar said.
One of them was top commander Umer Mushtaq Khanday, Kumar claimed.
Hours later, a street vendor and a labourer from outside occupied Kashmir were killed in separate shootings, police said.
Two soldiers also died in a “fierce firefight” near the highly militarised ceasefire line in the disputed region, a military statement said.
They had been involved in a week-long hunt for fighters that had already seen seven troops killed in the forested area of Mendhar.
More than 1,000 people suspected to have links with anti-India groups have been detained in a crackdown as part of the investigation into civilian killings, a police officer said on Saturday.
An armed rebellion that erupted in 1989 in the region has claimed tens of thousands of lives. Tensions have mounted also since the Indian government annulled Kashmir’s semi-autonomy in August 2019.
The government has said it took the measures to bring peace and prosperity to the disputed region. But Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, the region’s chief cleric who has been under house arrest for more than two years, warned in a statement on Saturday that “systemic oppression” was pushing many Kashmiri youths into the underground.