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Indian paramilitary soldiers stand guard at a check point in Srinagar, occupied Kashmir. — AP

SRINAGAR: Six suspected fighters and an Indian soldier were killed during two separate clashes in occupied Kashmir overnight, police said on Thursday, rounding off another bloody year in the disputed territory.

Police said the six fighters killed in two villages belonged to Jaish-e-Mohammad.

A police statement issued on Thursday said one of the four Indian security personnel wounded in the clashes died of bullet injuries in a hospital.

Officials say that at least 380 fighters, nearly 100 civilians, and over 80 security personnel have been killed in the disputed region since August 2019.

That was when New Delhi revoked the region’s limited autonomy and brought it under direct rule, adding to anger among locals and galvanising support for self-determination.

Local police chief Vijay Kumar told the Economic Times daily this week that some 70 per cent of the youths who joined militant ranks this year “were either killed or arrested”.

Most of those arrested are being held under anti-terrorism legislation called the Unlawful Activities Prev­e­ntion Act (UAPA). The law allows people to be held for six months — often rolled over — without being charged and bail is virtually impossible.

One of those — in custody since November — is Khurram Parvez, programme coordinator for a respected rights group, the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society.

On December 1 the UN Human Rights Office criticised his arrest and said that the UAPA “raises serious concerns relating to the right of presumption of innocence along with other due process and fair trial rights”.

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