At least eight killed across Indian-controlled Kashmir amid heightened tensions
Indian forces say they have killed at least six suspected militants in Kashmir where heavily-armed assailants shot dead a female TV performer and a police officer in the disputed Himalayan region over the past 24 hours.
Kashmir police chief Vijay Kumar said militants belonging to the so-called Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba organizations were killed in separate encounters that raged on Wednesday.
"Three militants each of Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba were killed in two separate gun battles in Kashmir since yesterday," he said Thursday. "We have also lost a cop in one of the operations."
Kumar said militants had also shot dead 35-year-old television and social-media performer Amreen Bhat on Wednesday evening.
The developments came after a court in New Delhi on Wednesday sentenced leading Kashmiri pro-freedom leader Yasin Malik to life imprisonment on terrorism charges, sparking fresh tensions in the restive region.
Businesses in Kashmir remained closed for a second day on Thursday, amid protests against the verdict, while police detained 10 people for throwing stones and for sloganeering outside Malik's residence.
Kashmir has gone through heightened tensions in the recent past, witnessing several fatalities.
In January alone, 21 pro-independence fighters were killed across the region. Last year, Kashmir witnessed a wave of unrest to which Indian forces responded with a widespread crackdown. At least 193 militants were killed in 2021 and 232 in 2020.