Security forces in Indian-administered Kashmir claim they have killed a senior fighter believed to be involved in the murder of a prominent Kashmiri journalist in June.
Naveed Jatt, the fighter who was killed after a gun battle, was a member of the Pakistan-based armed Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) group, police said on Wednesday, adding that he was part of the group of assailants who killed journalist Shujaat Bukhari.
Bukhari was killed in a daring attack inside Srinagar’s high-security press area on June 14, while he was getting into his car.
Police said on Wednesday that Jatt and another fighter were killed after they were trapped by soldiers, paramilitary forces and a police forces surrounding the village of Chattergam in the central Kashmir valley.
LeT, the proscribed group India blames for the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, is one of several groups that has been fighting Indian soldiers for decades, seeking independence for Kashmir or a merger with Pakistan.
Jatt had dramatically escaped in February from a hospital in Srinagar where he was brought from jail for a check-up two years after his arrest.
Bukhari was an editor for the English-language Rising Kashmir, two other daily newspapers and a weekly. He was an advocate for a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute and was often part of peace conferences between India and Pakistan attended by former diplomats and generals from both countries.
Violence in Kashmir has left tens of thousands of people dead. This year has been the bloodiest in nearly a decade with at least 400 killed so far, including 145 civilians.
Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the partition of the subcontinent following independence from Britain in 1947.
India maintains some 500,000 soldiers in the part of the territory it controls and regularly accuses Pakistan of arming and training rebels for attacks on Indian forces.
Islamabad denies this, saying it only provides diplomatic support to a Kashmiri struggle for self-determination.
|People inspect a house damaged in the gun battle in the village of Chattergam, central Kashmir valley [Danish Ismail/Reuters]|