Six Die in Indian Kashmir Militant Attack


Two suspected rebels stormed a police station in Indian Kashmir on Friday, killing three officers and a civilian before being shot dead by government forces, police said.

The heavily armed militants hijacked a private jeep and killed the driver before lobbing grenades into the station, triggering a gun battle with government forces, inspector general of police for the region Danish Rana told Agence France Presse.

"Both the militants were killed in the following gun battle," Rana said, adding that one police officer and two paramilitary troops were also left dead after the shoot-out.

Two other troops were wounded in the attack, the first to hit India's only Muslim-majority state since the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took power this month in a coalition government.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since independence from Britain in 1947. Both claim the Himalayan territory in its entirety.

Several rebel groups have been fighting Indian forces since 1989 for independence or a merger of the territory with Pakistan.

The fighting has left tens of thousands dead, mostly civilians. Armed encounters between rebels and government forces occur regularly, though violence in the region has substantially declined during the last decade.

India blames Pakistan for arming the rebels -- a charge Islamabad denies.

No rebel group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack on the police station near Kathua, 350 kilometers (220 miles) south of the state capital Srinagar.

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