Five Indian soldiers killed, one Kashmiri martyred in gun battle

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SRINAGAR: Five Indian paramilitary soldiers were killed and a freedom fighter martyred on Wednesday in a gun battle in occupied Kashmir.

Three paramilitaries, a local policeman and a woman bystander were also wounded, and one freedom fighter was martyred when the police returned fire, according to the senior police official.

It was the deadliest incident in the occupied valley since February, when a suicide bomber rammed an explosive-laden car into a bus, killing 40 Indian paramilitary police.

Separately on Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet agreed to extend direct federal rule over occupied Kashmir.

The held valley has been being directly governed by New Delhi since 2018, after Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party quit a regional coalition and called for federal authorities to take control.

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