SRINAGAR, Jammu and Kashmir

Three militants and an Indian army soldier were killed in a gunfight on Saturday morning in a southern district of the Indian-administered Kashmir, an army spokesman said.

This was the second gunfight in the past 24 hours. Four militants were killed and another was caught alive during an operation in the southern Shopian district on Friday, according to army spokesman Col. Rajesh Kalia.

Vijay Kumar, the inspector general of police, told reporters that one of the deceased in Friday’s gunfight was the district commander of Al-Badr militant outfit.

Ongoing violence

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

In an appeal in March, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged warring parties across the globe to lay down their arms in support of the fight against the pandemic but the situation in the disputed region has worsened with the outbreak.

Last week, Kashmir Police Chief Dilbag Singh told a press conference that a total of 26 militant commanders have been killed this year so far, dealing a blow to the militant leadership. At the same conference, Kumar said 195 to 198 militants were active in the Valley at present.

Disputed territory

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

Since they were partitioned in 1947, New Delhi and Islamabad have fought three wars — in 1948, 1965, and 1971. Two of them have been over Kashmir.

Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against the Indian rule for independence or 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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