Militants kill 10 in raid on police station in India’s Jammu and Kashmir state

Three attackers, dressed in Indian army uniforms, killed in fire fight near Pakistan border

An injured policeman is rushed to a hospital for treatment after six people were killed in a raid on an Indian police station near the border with Pakistan. Photograph: Reuters

An injured policeman is rushed to a hospital for treatment after six people were killed in a raid on an Indian police station near the border with Pakistan. Photograph: Reuters

 


A group of suspected Islamist militants killed 10 people, including five policemen and three soldiers, in a strike in India’s disputed northern Jammu and Kashmir state yesterday.

Police said the security forces shot dead the three attackers dressed in Indian army uniforms after a fire fight lasting over eight hours near the town of Sambha, by the Pakistani border.

Officials said the gunmen armed with assault rifles and grenades had crossed the border at daybreak and attacked a police station some 10km away, killing five policemen.

They then hijacked a truck and stormed an army camp some 20km away, killing three soldiers including the deputy commandant of an armoured regiment based there. One civilian also died in the cross-fire.


Surrounded and killed
Army helicopters hovered overhead as the fire-fight with the militants continued for several hours before they were eventually surrounded and killed.

A man identifying himself as Shams-ul-Haque and claiming to be the spokesman of a hitherto unknown militant group – Shihada Brigade or Martyr’s Brigade – claimed responsibility for the twin attacks in a phone call to a local English daily newspaper, the Kashmir Monitor.

But India’s interior minister Sushil Kumar Shinde told national television that the militants had infiltrated the border from neighbouring Pakistan, which controls a third of Kashmir and lays claim to the rest.


Army of the Pure
Indian security officials fear a new wave of Pakistan-based militants from Islamist groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (Army of the Pure) will renew their strikes in Kashmir as western troops leave Afghanistan next year. Pakistan’s army and government, however, were not immediately available for comment.

India and Pakistan have, since independence 66 years ago, fought two of their three wars and an 11-week long military engagement in 1999 over Muslim-majority Kashmir, which is divided between the two but claimed in its entirety by both.

India has accused Pakistan of supporting militants fighting security forces in Indian Kashmir since 1989 for a Muslim homeland, an allegation Islamabad denies.