05:53 GMT09 May 2021
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    The frequency of encounters between Indian forces and Kashmiri militants has witnessed a sharp surge since 25 February, when the Indian and Pakistani militaries reaffirmed their commitment to the 2003 ceasefire agreement. Many locals say New Delhi should also agree to a ceasefire with local militants.

    Indian security forces killed three militants in an overnight encounter in Jammu and Kashmir's Shopian district, police said on Sunday morning.

    The encounter in the southern Kashmiri district, often known as a hotbed of home-grown militancy, concluded in the morning, even as the search operations to look for other militants were still ongoing.

    The police said that they made efforts to make a young, "newly-recruited" militant surrender, but in vain.

    It was the second face-off between militants and the security agencies in the district this week. On Thursday, three more terrorists were killed in the same district in another encounter with the forces, which also resulted in one Indian trooper being injured

    In another encounter in Kashmir's Anantnag district, two terrorists said to be responsbile for the killing of an Indian Army solider were eliminated by the forces in the town of Bijbehara. Law enforcement said that they were conducting search operations as of Sunday morning to look for other militants, who are believed to have gone into hiding.

    ​The frequency of encounters between militants, many of them locals but also alleged to be logistically backed by Pakistan, and the security forces has witnessed a sharp spike since New Delhi and Islamabad reaffirmed their commitment to uphold the 2003 ceasefire agreement on 25 February.

    Most of the encounters have taken place in the southern Kashmir region, an area that in recent years has witnessed one of the worst bouts of militancy as well as stone-hurling, another expression of local anger against New Delhi.

    The encounters have put a question mark on New Delhi's claims about the viability of the decision to abrogate Article 370, a constitutional provision that afforded special status to the Jammu and Kashmir region. New Delhi has claimed that the August 2019 decision has led many Kashmiri youths to give up their arms and join mainstream Indian society.

    Pakistan, who disputes India's hold over the region and who also controls a part of Kashmir, has refused to recognise New Delhi's August 2019 move.


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