SRINAGAR: Suspected militants killed two soldiers and one police officer in an ambush on a military convoy overnight in Indian-administrated Kashmir, an official in the troubled region said Wednesday.
An unknown number of gunmen opened fire on the two army trucks and a police vehicle travelling through Baramulla district, 60 kilometres (37 miles) west of the region’s main city of Srinagar.
“Two soldiers and one police officer were killed and three others — two soldiers and another police officer were injured,” district police superintendent Imtiaz Hussain told AFP.
Security forces launched a major search for the militants who fled the scene, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.
Military convoys have been travelling through the region more frequently at night in recent weeks to avoid encountering protesting residents.
Kashmir has been under curfew since protests erupted over the death last month of a popular young rebel leader, Burhan Wani, in a gunfight with security forces.
More than 60 civilians have been killed in clashes between protesters and security forces, and thousands more injured in the worst violence to hit the Himalayan region since 2010.
Kashmir is split between India and Pakistan along a UN-monitored line of control, but both claim it in full and have fought two wars over its control.
A top UN human rights official expressed “deep regret” at the failure of Indian and Pakistani authorities to grant his team access to the separate parts of Kashmir to probe recent allegations of human rights violations, which include use of excessive force and state sponsorship of violence.
“Without access we can only fear the worst,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said in a statement released in Geneva.
India’s top-diplomat Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, speaking to reporters in New Delhi on Wednesday, blamed Pakistan’s continued support for “cross border terrorism” for complicating ties between the neighbours.
“(Pakistan’s) attitude towards the use of terrorism as an instrument of diplomacy made it a very difficult partner for all of us,” he said.
The foreign secretary added that India had made efforts in the last two-years to reach out to Pakistan and find a common ground.
Armed rebels have fought Indian security forces in Kashmir since 1989 for the independence of the region or for it to be made part of Pakistan. The conflict has left tens of thousands, mostly civilians, dead.
Gunmen shot and wounded 10 police paramilitiaries on Monday who were trying to impose a curfew in Srinagar during Independence Day. One of the troopers later died of his injuries. – AFP