Two clashes between Indian soldiers and separatist militants left nine people dead in Kashmir on Thursday, May 16. Among the deceased included three suspected Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) militants, two Hizbul Mujahideen militants, two Indian soldiers, and two civilians.
According to police sources, three JeM militants, a soldier, and a civilian were killed during an exchange of fire amid a security operation in the Dalipora area of Pulwama district on Thursday. Authorities imposed a curfew in Pulwama following the incident and internet disruptions were reported in the area. A second gunfight took place in the Handew area of Shopian district in which two Hizbul Mujahideen militants, a soldier, and a civilian were killed amid another security operation.
The Joint Resistance Leaders separatist group has called for a general strike in Kashmir on Friday, May 17, to protest the violence and associated deaths of civilians and others in the region during Ramadan. Business and transportation disruptions are to be expected in Kashmir along with an increased deployment of security forces. Additional security operations and clashes between armed groups and security forces are likely in the coming weeks and months, along with associated telecommunications and transportation disruptions.
Separatists have been fighting Indian rule in Kashmir since 1989. Some 70,000 people have died and many more have been injured in related violence, uprisings, and military crackdowns.
Individuals in Kashmir are advised to monitor developments, avoid all protests and demonstrations as a precaution, remain vigilant for militant activity, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities (e.g. curfews, road closures) and their home governments.
Some Western governments advise their citizens against travel to parts of Kashmir, notably including areas along the Line of Control (LoC), due to the significant risk of violence.
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