Srinagar: All the seven separatist guerrillas killed in a gunfight with the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir's Kupwara district were Pakistani nationals belonging to the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) outfit, army and the state police said on Tuesday.
An Indian army jawan take position during the Kupwara encounter in Kashmir. Pic: AFP
In a joint press conference at Lalpora (Lolab) village of Kupwara, counter-insurgency Rashtriya Rifles' Kilo Force commander Maj.Gen. S.K. Sunny and Deputy Inspector General of Police (North Kashmir) J.P. Singh said the seven guerrillas shot dead in Dardpora forest area of Kupwara were Pakistanis.
There were protests and clashes in Kupwara town as locals demanded to see the bodies of the slain guerrillas to ensure they were not local civilians, but these came to an end after authorities handed over the bodies of the slain guerrillas for burial.
"Due to high altitude and heavy snow, our men faced difficulties to track and crack these militants. However, we finally managed to neutralize seven of them," said Maj. Gen. Sunny.
He said the slain guerrillas were not part of any recently infiltrated group, but were active for a long time in the local forest areas.
The slain guerrillas were carrying Pakistani documents which proved that they were not locals, but foreigners, he added.
J.P. Singh said the bodies were handed over to the local Auqaf Committee for burial.
Arms and ammunition recovered from the slain guerrillas were also displayed at the press conference.