SRINAGAR: The death toll from a militant attack in the disputed state of Kashmir rose to seven on Sunday, as security forces fought to flush attackers out of the Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI) building they had stormed.
The militants had attacked a bus carrying police reservists near Srinagar, before breaking into the training institute. More than 100 people were inside at the time.
Two reservists and one civilian were killed in Saturday’s attack and the subsequent operation to evacuate the institute. Three elite soldiers died on Sunday as they fought to eliminate the attackers. “We have killed one militant,” Bhavish Choudhary, a spokesman for the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), said on Sunday evening. The operation was still ongoing. There were repeated blasts at the scene and smoke could be seen billowing from the roof of the five-storey training centre.
Since 1989 several separatist groups have been fighting Indian forces deployed in the region, seeking either independence or a merger of the territory with neighbouring Pakistan. The fighting has left tens of thousands, mostly civilians, dead.
Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since they won independence from UK in 1947. Both claim the Himalayan territory in full. Violence in the restive territory has sharply declined over the last decade, but armed clashes break out regularly between separatist, government forces.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 22nd, 2016.