Suspected militants launched an attack in Indian Kashmir killing three civilians and a policeman, the latest violence to hit the restive valley, authorities said on Sunday.One of the militants was also killed when they attacked policemen clearing the site of a road accident late Saturday near Kulgam district.
“A police party was at the accident site when they were attacked. In the cross-fire, one policeman and three civilians died. One of the attackers also died,” a police source told AFP.
On Sunday, thousands of local residents gathered to mourn the dead militant at a funeral where rebels fired shots into the air as a mark of respect.The Press Trust of India said the attacker had been identified as Fayaz Ahmed Ashwar, who carried a bounty of 200,000 rupees ($3,100) on his head over his role in an attack on a military convoy in 2015 that killed two soldiers.
Anti-India sentiment runs deep in the predominantly Muslim Kashmir valley, one of the world’s most heavily militarised areas, where most people favour independence or a merger with Pakistan.
Apart from armed militant groups, the roughly 500,000 Indian soldiers deployed in Kashmir are regularly involved in clashes with civilians, fuelling growing resentment against New Delhi.
The clashes have become more frequent since the killing of popular rebel leader Burhan Wani last July which sparked widespread unrest.
Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the end of British rule in 1947 but both claim the territory in its entirety.
On Monday, five policemen and two civilians were killed when militants attacked a bank van in Kulgam, and two soldiers were killed in an attack along the de facto border with Pakistan.