Mon Jan 16, 2017 09:24AM
Indian army soldiers take position during an encounter with suspected militants in the village of Batal in Akhnoor District, north of Jammu, on January 9, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Indian army soldiers take position during an encounter with suspected militants in the village of Batal in Akhnoor District, north of Jammu, on January 9, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The Indian army says it has killed three militants during an overnight exchange of gunfire at a village in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Rajesh Kalia, an army spokesman, said Monday that the army troops sealed off the village, which lies near the tourist resort of Pahalgam, after being tipped off that militants were hiding out in a private home there.

“On specific intelligence army soldiers cordoned off the village on Sunday evening and the gun battle started,” the military official said.

Kalia added that the bodies of those killed and their weapons had been retrieved.

A local police officer also said Indian forces fired mortar shells and demolished the house.

Hundreds of thousands of soldiers are deployed in Indian-controlled Kashmir, where militant groups have for decades been fighting for independence or a merger with Pakistan.

Muslim-majority Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan but claimed in full by both since the two gained independence from Britain in 1947. The two countries have fought two wars over the disputed territory.

The region has been the scene of protests and tight security since early July, when Indian forces killed a leading pro-independence fighter. The protests have left nearly 90 civilians and two policemen dead and thousands of others injured.