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Indian forces kill 5 fighters in IHK

02 October, 2012

NEW DELHI: Indian security forces claimed on Monday to have killed five foreign fighters during a gunfight in a forested area in the Indian-held Kashmir (IHK).

Forces acting on an intelligence tip-off surprised the men allegedly from the Hizbul Mujahideen group in Wanghat Forest about 50 kilometres from the main city of Srinagar, local police chief Shahid Mehraj said.

"The fighters were killed in a fierce gunfight by the joint party of Indian army and police. Five AK assault rifles and a large quantity of ammunition were recovered from them," he told AFP.

Violence in IHK has dropped sharply since India and Pakistan started a peace process in 2004 but occasional gunfights are known to erupt between the rebels and Indian security forces. India blames Pakistan for backing fighters on its side of the divided region, a charge Islamabad denies.

The Indian Home Ministry estimates over 40,000 people have been killed since an insurgency against Indian rule broke out in 1990, while human rights groups and separatists put the toll at 70,000-100,000.

Rights groups also say as many as 8,000 people have been disappeared by the security forces, while there have been cases of the army covering up the wrongful killing of Kashmiris by accusing the deceased of being fighters.

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