Indian security forces say they have killed three fighters in a gunbattle in Indian-administered Kashmir.
Soldiers and police special forces on Monday cordoned off Dangerpora village, northwest of the main city of Srinagar, on suspicion that fighters were hiding inside, sparking the mid-afternoon gunbattle, a police officer said.
“We have seen three bodies so far. Two more could still be engaged in fighting,” police superintendent Abdul Qayoom said.
The battle comes a week after fighters killed a senior police officer and wounded three others in the same area.
About a dozen rebel groups have been fighting Indian forces since 1989 for independence or merger of the disputed territory with Pakistan. Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the two countries won independence from Britain in 1947 but the Himalayan territory is claimed in full by both.
High security caualties in 2013
The violence, which has left tens of thousands of people dead, has been on a steady decline since the 2000s, but police say fighters inflicted a heavy toll on security forces in 2013.
Sixty one Indian security officers were killed last year in the fighting, compared to 47 officers for all of 2011 and 2012 put together, according to figures released recently by authorities. A total of 63 fighters were killed in Indian Kashmir last year.
Indian police and army officials have voiced fears that Pakistan may divert fighters from Afghanistan to Kashmir after the US forces drawdown this year.