Two Indian soldiers lost their lives alongside six rebels in separate gun battles across Indian-administered Kashmir, according to local police reports, highlighting escalating security concerns in the disputed Himalayan region.

Inspector General Vidhi Kumar Birdi of Kashmir police informed AFP on Sunday that security forces conducted operations in villages within Kulgam district, resulting in casualties on both sides.

“In two different operations in Modergram and Frisal Chinnigam villages, two soldiers were killed,” Birdi stated. “The encounters are ongoing.”

He added, “The bodies of two militants were recovered from Modergram, and four others from Frisal Chinnigam.”

The recent violence underscores a resurgence in attacks within the Muslim-majority region, which has witnessed armed insurgency against Indian governance since the late 1980s.

Despite a decline in violence in recent years, sporadic incidents continue to occur.

India regularly accuses Pakistan of backing and arming rebels in Kashmir, an accusation Islamabad denies. Both countries claim the entire region but administer separate parts, leading to three wars over its control.

In a separate incident in June, nine Hindu pilgrims were killed and many wounded in an attack on a bus in southern Reasi area, marking one of the deadliest assaults in years and the first on Hindu pilgrims since 2017.

In August 2019, India’s government, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist leadership, revoked Kashmir’s special status, which granted it autonomy under Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution.

The move sparked widespread unrest, prompting a lengthy security crackdown in one of the world’s most militarized zones.

While the government argued the decision aimed to curb terrorism, incidents like the recent attacks have persisted, deepening the divide between Kashmiris and mainland India.

Since 2019, the region has been directly governed from New Delhi, further exacerbating tensions.