Suspected militants killed three Indian soldiers after ambushing a convoy in India-held Kashmir, officials said Saturday.
An unknown number of people on motorbikes opened fire on the army convoy near Pampore town on the key highway a few miles south of Srinagar, the region’s main city, officials said.
“Motorcycle-borne militants ambushed an army convoy. There have been casualties but details are being ascertained,” K. Rajendra Kumar, police chief of the Kashmir region told AFP.
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An Indian army official on condition of anonymity told AFP that “three soldiers were martyred in the attack”.
The gunmen fled the scene and a major search operation to track down the attackers had been launched, the source said.
Thousands of vehicles including army convoys pass daily through the crucial 300-kilometre Jammu-Srinagar highway the only road link to the Himalayan valley.
Last month suspected militants killed seven soldiers after they attacked a military base along the highway.
Uptick in violence
In the worst civilian violence to hit the restive region of IHK since 2010, at least 90 Kashmiri civilians have been killed and thousands more injured in Indian-held Kashmir in clashes with security forces after the killing of a prominent Kashmiri separatist leader Burhan Wani, in a military operation on July 8.
Wani, a 22-year-old commander of Kashmir’s largest pro-independence militant group Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), was killed along with two other separatists during a gun battle with Indian government forces.
Wani joined the HM group at the age of just 15, and was viewed as a hero by many in Kashmir. The state’s former chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted after his death that he had become the “new icon of Kashmir’s disaffected”.
Witnesses said tens of thousands attended his funeral despite a curfew imposed by Indian authorities, chanting independence slogans.
Most have died in clashes between protesters and government forces who have fired tear gas and pellet guns at demonstrators.
India’s home minister police and troops would use chilli-based shells instead of ones filled with birdshot after hundreds of civilians sustained serious eye injuries in the clashes.
The metal pellets or birdshot fired from the pump-action shotguns rarely result in deaths, but can often blind victims if the fragments hit them in the eye.
Authorities have imposed a curfew across large parts of the region, with schools, shops and many banks closed.
Internet and mobile networks have also been cut off in a bid to prevent protests.
Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the two gained independence from British rule in 1947. Both claim the territory in full.
Several rebel groups have for decades fought Indian soldiers deployed in the territory, demanding independence for the region or its merger with Pakistan.
Tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, have died in the fighting.
courtesy : dawn news