Indian Government forces on Thursday shot and killed four suspected Islamic rebels during a cordon-and-search operation in the Indian portion of Kashmir, police said. The encounter took place in a forested area in Ramban district, 165 kilometers north of Jammu, the winter capital of India's Jammu-Kashmir state, said Basanth Rath, the superintendent of police. Nearly a dozen rebel groups have been fighting for Kashmir's independence from India or its merger with Pakistan since 1989. More than 68,000 people have been killed in the conflict. India accuses Pakistan of training and arming the rebel groups, a charge Islamabad denies. Pakistan says it only provides moral and diplomatic support to the Islamic militants.