At least three Indian policemen have been shot and killed by gunmen in the restive Kashmir region.
Three Indian policemen were shot dead at point-blank range on Monday in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir state, in the first such attacks in almost three years, a senior police officer said.
The attacks followed a weekend shootout in north Kashmir in which five militants and one Indian soldier were killed, taking to 44 the total number of separatist fighters killed this year in India’s most northerly region.
The spike in violence comes against a backdrop of rising social tension and separatist sentiment in the Muslim-majority region, which for decades has been at the centre of a strategic tussle between India and Pakistan.
The three policemen were killed in two separate attacks in Srinagar, police official Ghulam Hassan Bhat told Reuters, with two killed in the Zadibal quarter of the city.
“The militants fired at these cops from point-blank range, leaving them in a pool of blood,” said Bhat, a deputy inspector general of police in the region.
The assailants in the second attack shot dead the security guard of a political leader, also at point-blank range, and took his rifle.
The attacks came two days after Indian troops killed five militants from Pakistan-backed militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba in the Kupwara district bordering Pakistan. One soldier succumbed to wounds suffered in the gun battle.