Indian security forces battle Kashmir militants after killing of Hindu

Srinagar (Reuters) – Indian security forces shot dead two militants in Kashmir on Tuesday during a 12-hour battle in the disputed region in which a soldier was also killed, the chief of police said.

The battle occurred in a village south of Srinagar after security forces launched a manhunt for the suspected killers of a Hindu security guard who was shot dead on Sunday in another nearby village, Kashmir Police Chief Vijay Kumar said.

“One of the slain militants , Aquib Mushtaq, was responsible for killing (security guard) Sanjay Kumar Nath,” he said.

On Monday, members of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party held a protest in Kashmir against the killing.

Hindus and Sikhs are minorities in the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley, and are often the target of militants fighting the Indian government. The region saw a surge in violence last year, which triggered a widespread security crackdown.

India and neighbouring Pakistan claim the Himalayan region – that also includes the Hindu-dominated Jammu – in full but only rule parts of it. India says Pakistan supports the insurgency in Kashmir, a charge Pakistan denies.

Ten Kashmir Hindus were killed in the last two years in a wave of target killings in Kashmir by suspected militants.