Army Major among 10 killed in Kashmir gunfights (Lead)

March 22nd, 2009 - 4:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, March 22 (IANS) Ten people, including an army officer, have been killed in two ongoing gun battles between militants and security forces in north Kashmir, officials said Sunday.
“The operations in the Shamswari mountain range in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district are still continuing,” a defence spokesman said here.

“So far, we have lost one army Major and three troopers, while six terrorists have also been killed in the operation continuing for the past three days,” Lt. Col. J.S. Brar told IANS.

The slain army officer was identified as Major Mohit Sharma of 1-Para regiment of the army and a resident of Rajendra Nagar in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh.

The operations in the Shamswari mountain area were launched three days back on specific information about the presence of a group of heavily armed guerrillas.

“As the troops were surrounding the area, hidden militants opened fire at them. The troops also returned the fire, triggering fierce encounters that are still on,” the official said.

More reinforcements have been rushed to the areas, he added.

Informed sources said arms and ammunition have also been recovered from the sites of the gun battle.

Pakistani troops had Saturday fired at Indian positions in the Uri sector of the Line of Control (LoC), injuring one trooper. The exchange of fire between the two sides continued for nearly four hours.

Authorities here assert that Pakistani forces resort to such unprovoked firing to provide cover to guerrillas attempting to cross the LoC.

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