October 11, 2021
Tensions rise in recent weeks with a spate of shootings of civilians in attacks claimed by an anti-India rebel group.
Suspected rebels have shot dead five soldiers in Indian-administered Kashmir in the deadliest incident since February, an Indian army spokesman says.
“One JCO (junior commissioned officer) and four soldiers were killed during a search operation probably by infiltrators… The operation is ongoing,” Colonel Devender Anand said on Monday.
The shootings occurred in a mountain pass near the Line of Control (LoC) dividing the disputed Himalayan territory between India and Pakistan.
The shootings were the deadliest attack on military forces in the area since a ceasefire between India and Pakistan along the de facto border was announced in February.
The Kashmir region in its entirety is claimed by both India and Pakistan, who have administered parts of it since their independence in 1947.
For more than three decades, rebel groups have been fighting the Indian soldiers, demanding either independence for Kashmir or its merger with Muslim-majority Pakistan.
Tens of thousands of civilians, soldiers and rebels have died in the fighting. India accuses Pakistan of supporting the rebels, but Islamabad denies the allegations.
The region has been subjected to a legislative blitz since August 2019, with tensions soaring after New Delhi scrapped Kashmir’s semi-autonomy, applying new laws and cancelling others.