Deadly Fighting Erupts in Kashmir

The police said the woman died in the crossfire. Villagers disputed that claim, saying soldiers fired at the protesters, killing the woman. At least 10 civilians were also wounded.

The police said that at least one militant escaped during the clashes.

Separatist leaders who challenge India’s sovereignty over Kashmir called for a strike on Wednesday to protest recent civilian killings.

Deadly Fighting Erupts in Kashmir
Deadly Fighting Erupts in Kashmir

More than 200 militants, 75 police officers and soldiers and at least 40 civilians have died this year, the deadliest since 2010. The surge in violence comes after large anti-India protests and clashes erupted in Kashmir when a popular rebel leader was killed more than a year ago.

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India and Pakistan each claim Kashmir, which is divided between them.

Rebel groups want Kashmir to be united, either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country.

In recent years, Kashmiris, particularly young people, have openly supported anti-India rebels and sought to protect them by engaging troops in street clashes during military operations against the militants. Anti-India protests and clashes have persisted despite a warning by the Indian Army’s chief, who said recently that “tough action” would be taken against stone-throwers during counterinsurgency operations.

Also Tuesday, rescue teams recovered the bodies of three soldiers who were swept away last week by an avalanche near the heavily militarized Line of Control, the de facto border that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan.

Army officials said there was no trace of two other soldiers who also went missing when they slipped from a snow slope along the frontier last week.

Avalanches and landslides are common in the Himalayan region and have taken a heavy toll on the Indian and Pakistani armies. At least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in three avalanches this year, and in 2012 an avalanche in the Pakistan-controlled part of Kashmir killed 140 people, including 129 Pakistani soldiers.

Anti-India sentiment runs deep in Kashmir’s mostly Muslim population, and most people support the rebels. Nearly 70,000 people have been killed in the uprising and the ensuing Indian military crackdown.

India accuses Pakistan of arming and training the rebels, which Pakistan denies.

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