Three Killed In Kashmir Attacks

3 August 2009
Agence France-Presse

Srinagar: Suspected Muslim militants killed three people and injured four others in separate attacks in Indian Kashmir amid an upsurge in violence in the revolt-hit region, police said Monday. An Indian army soldier was shot dead in southern Shopian district late Sunday, a police statement said. The victim, a Kashmiri Muslim, was on home leave from the southern Indian city of Hyderabad where his unit was based. Also late Sunday, five civilian labourers were badly hurt in the summer capital Srinagar when suspected militants hurled a grenade at a police vehicle and missed, hitting bystanders, the statement said. Police said one of the injured civilians, a resident of India's Bihar state, died of his injuries in hospital Monday in Srinagar, the urban hub of the separatist insurgency which began in 1989 in the mainly Muslim region. Police added that a Muslim man was beheaded by a suspected group of militants in southern Rajouri district late Sunday. The militants often target people they suspect may be working for security forces, police say. There has been a sudden rise in separatist violence in the Himalayan region since Saturday when rebels killed two policemen in Srinagar. On Sunday, four militants and an Indian army soldier died in a gun battle in north Kashmir. Police attributed the increase in bloodshed to the upcoming Indian national holiday on August 15 which marks India's independence from British rule. 'The militants routinely increase violence before (India's) Independence Day,' Prabhakar Tripathi, spokesman for the Central Reserve Police Force, told AFP. Over the last 20 years the insurgency has left more than 47,000 people dead according to an official count. Violence had been falling sharply in the scenic region since India and Pakistan launched a stop-start peace process in 2004 to resolve their differences over Kashmir and other disputes. The two countries each hold part of the Kashmir region but claim it in full. India accuses Pakistan of training, arming and funding rebels battling New Delhi's rule in Indian Kashmir, a charge that Islamabad denies.