Policemen killed in Kashmir attack

Six people, including four policemen, have been killed in Indian-administered Kashmir when suspected militants in army uniforms attacked a police post.

The incident took place in Kathua district, barely a mile away from the de facto border with Pakistan.

The militants then attacked an army camp in neighbouring Samba district where they are engaged in a gun battle.

Kashmir, claimed by both India and Pakistan, has seen an armed insurgency against Indian rule since 1989.

India has a large security presence in Kashmir with tens of thousands of police and paramilitary forces deployed in the region.

In Thursday’s violence, “three to four men” in army uniforms arrived at a police station in Hiranagar in Kathua and opened fire.

Four policemen and two civilians were killed in the attack, police said.

After attacking the police station, the militants hijacked a truck and fled, senior Kashmir police official Rajesh Kumar told Reuters news agency.

“They abandoned the truck on the national highway and perhaps took another vehicle and carried out an attack on the army camp in Samba. The gun fight inside the camp is going on,” he said.

The attacks come days before the meeting this weekend between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

Peace talks between the two countries have been stalled for the past two years, and dialogue is expected to ease recent tensions along the Line of Control that divides Kashmir between the two countries.

Earlier this week a paramilitary soldier was killed when suspected militants fired at two soldiers in a busy market in Srinagar.

In recent years violence in Kashmir has abated from its peak in the 1990s, but the causes of the insurgency are still far from resolved.

And the hanging earlier this year of a Kashmiri man, Afzal Guru, on charges of plotting the 2001 attack on India’s parliament, has triggered a fresh spate of violence.

In May, four soldiers were killed in an ambush by suspected militants in the Pulwama district.

In March, two armed militants disguised as cricket players attacked a paramilitary camp and killed five troops.

The militants were killed in retaliatory fire. Two people were arrested in connection with the attack.