SRINAGAR, Jammu and Kashmir 

Four militants were killed in Indian-administered Kashmir on Monday during a gunfight with government forces, police said.

The Indian Army’s 55 Rashtriya Rifles and 183 Battalion of paramilitary forces launched a cordon-and-search operation in the Pinjora area of Shopian district early this morning following a tipoff that four to five militants were present in the area.

Police sources told Anadolu Agency that militants believed to be associated with the local outfit Hizbul Mujahideen fired on the government forces, which retaliated, and four militants were killed in the exchange of gunfire.

The sources said three government troops were also wounded.

I was the second encounter in Shopian district in the past 24 hours, in which nine militants have been killed so far. 

On Sunday, five militants associated with Hizbul Mujahideen were also killed in an exchange in which two homes and a cow shed were razed to ground. According to sources, a cow, ox and calf were also killed.

Meanwhile, the internet remains suspended for the second day in the district.

Ongoing violence

Despite multiple calls for a ceasefire, violence in the disputed region continues unabated.

In an appeal in March, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had urged warring parties across the globe to lay down their arms in support of the fight against the novel coronavirus.

Encounters, clashes and damage to property are frequent in the Himalayan valley, and there has been a spike in violence over the last three months.

According to figures compiled by the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, a human rights group, at least 80 militants and 25 armed personnel have been killed in the region this year.

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 have been over Kashmir.

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

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

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