Indian security forces are reportedly exchanging gunfire with suspected militants in Anantnag district (Jammu and Kashmir state) as of 11:45 (local time) on Tuesday, June 18. The engagement began during a pre-dawn cordon and search operation in the Bijbehara area. According to initial reports, at least two militants and one Indian soldier have been killed. There are also unconfirmed reports that a civilian has died in the fighting. Casualty figures are likely to change in the coming hours as more details are released. Internet service has reportedly been suspended in the area. Further telecommunication disruptions are likely in the coming hours and the operation continues. Associated protests are also possible.
Tuesday's engagement come less than 24 hours after an Indian officer was killed during an encounter in the Achabal area of Anantnag on Monday, June 17, during a cordon and search operation. At least two other Indian soldiers were also wounded in the fighting.
Security forces have conducted numerous raids in Jammu and Kashmir state in recent weeks targeting alleged members of separatists and jihadist militant groups. Large protests in the region have also resulted in several deaths, injuries, and arrests.
Separatists have been fighting Indian rule in Kashmir since 1989. Around 70,000 people have been killed and many more injured in related violence, uprisings, and military crackdowns. Indian security personnel have been conducting frequent security operations and have clashed with suspected militants in recent weeks.
Individuals in Jammu and Kashmir state are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid the affected area, anticipate transportation disruptions, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities 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.
Copyright and Disclaimer