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Page last updated at 08:41 GMT, Monday, 27 October 2008

'Militants die' in Kashmir battle

Jammu map

Indian troops say they have shot dead at least five militants in a fire fight in Indian-administered Kashmir.

The army spokesman said the fighting took place near the Metwan area in Kishtwar district, about 230km (142 miles), north-east of Jammu.

He said the dead militants had been identified as members of the pro-Pakistan group Hizbul Mujahideen.

Meanwhile, life in much of Indian-administered Kashmir has been hit by a separatist strike.

The strike has been called by separatist groups opposed to India to mark the 61st anniversary of Indian army's arrival in the state.

Indian troops arrived in Kashmir in 1947 to repulse a raid by tribal fighters from Pakistan who were supported by the Pakistani military.

Both India and Pakistan claim the disputed territory of Kashmir and have fought two wars over it.

There has been relative calm since a ceasefire in Kashmir in 2003.

Posters

The Indian army spokesman said that the troops had cordoned off a mountainous area following a tip off about the presence of a group of militants there early on Monday.

The army has not reported suffering any casualties in the fighting.

It said that the operation was a "big success especially in the run up to the elections".

Hizbul Mujahideen had reportedly put up posters in the main mosque in Kishtwar asking people to boycott the elections in the state.

Elections in the region will be held in seven phases between 17 November and 24 December.

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