Militants killed three Indian policemen in Kashmir on Monday, as attacks on security forces and village leaders escalate in the disputed Muslim-majority region.
Kashmir Police Chief Vijay Kumar said that militants attacked a security check-point north of the main city of Srinagar and killed one local policeman and two officers from the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force.
Two policemen were also killed in an attack on Friday. “We are developing leads and will neutralize the militants involved in the two attacks soon,” he said.
This month Kashmir, claimed by both India and Pakistan, marked the one year since New Delhi revoked its constitutional autonomy, inflaming religious tensions.
Many people saw the move as another step in the erosion of Muslim rights by India’s Hindu-nationalist government. New Delhi rejects that argument and says it will bring the region closer to the rest of the country.
Kumar added that security forces averted a major attack on Monday morning when they recovered an improvised explosive device planted under a bridge in Pulwama district located south of Srinagar.
In recent weeks, militants have also intensified attacks on village council members and other leaders in Kashmir – many of whom belong to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
In the past three months, militants have shot dead five such people, prompting police to move 1,000 village leaders to high-security zones.
Kashmir has been disputed by India and Pakistan since the end of British colonial rule in 1947. Both countries claim it in full but rule it in part.