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Eight freedom fighters martyred in IOJ&K gun battles

Eight freedom fighters were martyred in two separate gunfights with the Indian forces in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ&K) over the past 24 hours, the regional police said on Friday.

Three separatists embraced martyrdom in a Meej encounter in the Pampore area of southern Pulwama district while five more were martyred in the Bandpawa area of the Shopian district.

A police officer told Anadolu Agency that security forces early morning Thursday launched a cordon and search operation at Meej, South Kashmir after receiving specific information about the presence of freedom fighters there.

In another gunfight at the Bandpawa area of the occupied territory, in Shopian, one freedom fighter was martyred yesterday while four more embraced martyrdom today.

Defence spokesperson of the army Col. Rajesh Kalia said the forces had launched the operation in Shopian after receiving intelligence.

Meanwhile, the limited internet in the twin districts of Pulwama and Shopain was suspended after the encounters broke out.

Over 100 freedom fighters martyred in 2020

After the martyrdom of eight separatists today, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Vijay Kumar said that 100 freedom fighters in the disputed region have been martyred so far this year.

Police sources told Anadolu Agency that nearly 32 freedom fighters have been martyred in southern Kashmir during the last 19 days, which include 22 separatists martyred in Shopian alone in less than a 2-week period.

Ongoing violence

Despite calls from the international community, violence and gross human rights’ violation in the disputed region continues unabated.

In an appeal in March, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had urged warring parties across the globe to lay down their arms in support of the fight against the novel coronavirus but the situation in the Occupied Kashmir has worsened with the outbreak.

Regional police sources told Anadolu agency that 72 freedom fighters were martyred alone since the pandemic emerged in the region on March 20, while 102 separatists have been martyred since the beginning of this year.

Disputed territory

Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against the Indian rule for independence or unification with neighbouring Pakistan.

According to several human rights organisations, thousands of people have reportedly been martyred in the conflict in the region since 1989.