Eight killed in militant attack in Indian Kashmir

Indian police station and army camp are targeted

An injured policeman is taken to a hospital for treatment in Jammu today. Six people were killed in a raid on an Indian police station in Jammu and Kashmir state near the border with Pakistan. Photograph: Reuters

An injured policeman is taken to a hospital for treatment in Jammu today. Six people were killed in a raid on an Indian police station in Jammu and Kashmir state near the border with Pakistan. Photograph: Reuters

 

Militants dressed in Indian army uniforms killed eight people in attacks on an Indian police station and army base near the Pakistan border today, triggering calls to cancel talks between the rival nations’ leaders at the weekend.

The group of about three militants killed six people in the attack on the police station in the disputed Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, then hijacked a truck and drove to the army camp, where they were hiding in a building, security forces said.

They killed at least two soldiers, including a lieutenant colonel, an army officer told Reuters.

“They abandoned the truck on the national highway and perhaps took another vehicle and carried out an attack on the army camp in Samba. The gunfight inside the camp is going on,” said Rajesh Kumar, an inspector general of police.

Just a day before the attack, Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh said he would meet his Pakistan counterpart, Nawaz Sharif, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly at the weekend.

They are expected to discuss rising violence in the Kashmir region. Politicians from India’s nationalist opposition party immediately called for the cancellation of the talks, the first between the two leaders since Mr Sharif returned to office in May.

While Mr Singh strongly condemned what he called a “heinous terrorist attack” he suggested the meeting, expected on Sunday, would go ahead.

India has faced an insurgency in its part of Muslim-majority Kashmir since 1989 and has long accused Pakistan of supporting the militants fighting Indian rule.

Pakistan denies arming or training the militants, who cross the border from the Pakistani side of Kashmir into the Indian side, but says it offers moral support to the Muslim people of Kashmir who Pakistan says face rights abuses by Indian forces.

According to South Asia Terrorism Portal, which tracks violence in Kashmir, 128 people, including 44 security personnel were killed in the region this year, up to the latest attack. That compares with 117 people killed last year.