SRINAGAR (AFP) An Indian army major was killed and six other soldiers, including a colonel, were injured in a fierce gunbattle with freedom fighters in Indian-held Kashmir, the military said Wednesday. The gunbattle erupted Tuesday evening when army soldiers moved into a forest area on a tip off to arrest or eliminate fighters present there, an army spokesman said. The clash took place in the Mendhar area of Poonch district, some 450 kilometres south of Srinagar. Intermittent exchanges of fire continued throughout the night, the spokesman said, adding that reinforcements have been sent to strengthen the security cordon around the scene of the fighting. Indian security forces have been struggling to control demonstrations in the mainly Muslim valley after being accused of killing 15 civilians - many of them teenagers - since the first death of a 17-year-old on June 11. The struggle against New Delhis rule has left more than 47,000 people dead, according to an official count.