SRINAGAR, Jammu and Kashmir

Two militants were killed in a gunfight with government forces in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday, police said.

Three Indian soldiers, including a junior commissioned officer, were also injured in the shootout, a police source told Anadolu Agency, requesting anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

The gunfight broke out during a cordon-and-search operation in the Arrah area of Kashmir’s southern Kulgam district.

“One militant was killed during the initial exchange of fire. We tried to persuade the other militant to surrender but he refused and was shot dead,” the police source said.

Other local sources told Anadolu Agency that protests have started in the area against the militants’ killing.

Ongoing violence

Despite multiple calls for a cease-fire, violence continues unabated in the disputed Himalayan region.

Police sources say more than 120 militants have been killed in the region this year.

According to a report by the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), at least 143 militants and 32 civilians have been killed in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir in 57 encounters from Jan. 1 to June 30.

Kashmir is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.

Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars – in 1948, 1965, and 1971 – two of them over Kashmir.

Also, in Siachen glacier in northern Kashmir, Indian and Pakistani troops have fought intermittently since 1984. A cease-fire took effect in 2003.

Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.

According to several human rights groups, thousands of people have been killed in the conflict since 1989.

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