//Indian troops kill two Kashmiri rebels in pre-Republic Day raids

Indian troops kill two Kashmiri rebels in pre-Republic Day raids

SRINAGAR, India – Indian troops killed two militants as the army continued a counter-insurgency crackdown near the border with Pakistani-controlled Kashmir ahead of Thursday’s Republic Day celebrations, the army said on Tuesday.

Two police were also injured in the gun battle in northern Kupwara, Indian army spokesman Colonel Hemant Juneja told AFP.“Another gun battle sparked by a similar raid is (under way) in the same district,” he said.The raids are part of enhanced security operations ahead of Republic Day, which has been marked in the past by attacks by Muslim rebels opposed to Indian rule in Kashmir.

January 26 marks the adoption in 1950 of India’s constitution.

Indian troops in Kashmir’s winter capital of Jammu last week seized weapons including assault rifles, hand grenades and explosives from an area close to the Maulana Azad Stadium, where celebrations are planned. “The find might have helped us foil a terrorist strike on or ahead of Republic Day,” a police spokesman said.

Police and army checkpoints have been set up at major crossings in Srinagar and roads sealed around Bakshi Stadium, the main venue for Thursday’s celebrations, for vehicle searches and identity checks.Residents around the stadium were being asked to register with police amid house-to-house searches.

Tens of thousands of people have died in Kashmir since the eruption of an insurgency against Indian rule in 1989