Indian troops and separatist militants clashed in Indian-controlled Kashmir on Thursday and five people were killed including a civilian, officials said, the latest casualties in a new phase of violence in the 30-year insurgency.
Tension in Muslim-majority Kashmir has been high since a Feb. 14 suicide bomb attack by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militant group killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary police.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave troops a “free hand” to respond to the attack, and near-daily searches in villages in Kashmir since then have often triggered violent confrontations, with civilians caught in crossfire to the alarm of rights groups.
Modi’s tough response to the bomb attack, which included an air strike against what India said was a militant camp in Pakistan, is believed to have given his party a boost in a general election that began on April 11 and ends on May 19. Read More