Five killed, eight injured in Kashmir unrest


Four suspected Muslim militants and an Indian army soldier were killed and eight other people injured in several shoot-outs and blasts in Indian-administered Kashmir, police said today.

Three militants were killed in a gunbattle with Indian troops in the southern Poonch district today, a police spokesman said.

He said another militant was shot dead during a similar encounter in Banihal township, 102 kilometres (64 miles) southeast of Srinagar, the summer capital.

An Indian army soldier died in a rebel ambush in northern Kupwara, a district that borders Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, police said.

Meanwhile, eight people were injured in two grenade explosions today in Srinagar, police said.

Two people were injured when suspected rebels hurled a grenade into the 17th century Mughal-built Nishat garden in Srinagar, police said.

The explosion sparked panic among several thousands of people in the garden celebrating the start of the tourism and harvest season.

The attack took place a day after Kashmir's public gardens were officially opened. Last week a bomb ripped through the entrance of the Nishat garden.

Four civilians and two security force personnel were injured in another grenade explosion Monday, this time in Srinagar's busy Hari Singh High Street, a police spokesman said.

More than 38,000 people have been killed in Indian Kashmir since the eruption of anti-Indian rebellion in the scenic Himalayan region in 1989, according to officials. Separatists say the toll is twice as high.