SRINAGAR, India – Pro-independence leaders of India-administered Kashmir called on Monday for a shutdown in the valley after at least two insurgents and four civilians were killed during a shootout at an army mobile checkpoint.
The shootout took place Sunday night in south Kashmir’s Shopian district, after an insurgent opened fire on the post from a vehicle in which he was traveling with three others, a Kashmiri police spokesperson told EFE.
The spokesperson, who requested anonymity, added that all occupants of the vehicle were killed in the shootout.
“The fourth dead body was found earlier today,” said the spokesperson, adding that the body was found inside another vehicle about 200 meters away, although he did not identify the victim as an insurgent.
The security forces also recovered a second suspected insurgent’s body about 12 kilometers (8 miles) away, the police spokesperson said.
The two insurgents were members of the terror organization Lashkar-e-Taiba, according to the police.
Mehbooba Mufti, Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, said in a message on twitter that she was “deeply distressed by more deaths of civilians caught in the crossfire in Shopian.”
Kashmir had returned to relative peace after months of violent protests that began in July 2016 with the death of a young insurgent, who was popular in the region.
Located in the foothills of the Himalayas, Kashmir is the only Indian state with a Muslim majority population.
Pakistan has claimed complete sovereignty over the region since the partition of the subcontinent in 1947 and its independence from British rule.
The two countries have waged two wars and several minor conflicts over the restive state, that is separated by a provisional border into India-administered and Pakistan-administered Kashmir, and is one of the most militarized zones in the world.