Militants kill 3 in Indian Kashmir before voting

2014-04-22 11:08
Indian paramilitary troopers clash with Kashmiri protestors during a one-day strike in Srinagar. (Tauseef Mustafa, AFP)

Indian paramilitary troopers clash with Kashmiri protestors during a one-day strike in Srinagar. (Tauseef Mustafa, AFP)

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Srinagar - Militants have killed two local officials and another man in Indian Kashmir in attacks aimed at intimidating Kashmiris planning to vote in the country's election this week, police said on Tuesday.

The militants targeted two village council heads in separate attacks late on Monday in Pulwana district south of the main city of Srinagar, a senior officer said.

"Three people including two village heads were killed by local militants active in the area and the attack is aimed to keep the voters away from polling," Inspector General of Police AG Mir told AFP.

"The attackers belong to the local militant organisation Hizbul Mujahidin, they were two in number and we have identified them," Mir said.

Police were hunting for the attackers, who entered the home of one village head and shot him dead. They killed another senior village official and his 24-year-old son about an hour later in the same district.

In a similar attack on 17 April, a village council head was shot dead elsewhere in the Himalayan region, which is disputed between India and Pakistan.

Separatists have been calling for a boycott of the marathon general election which will end next month. Voting in the Muslim-majority Kashmir and Jammu state is being staggered because of the tight security required.

One Kashmir constituency, which includes Pulwana district where the latest attacks occurred, votes on Thursday.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since 1947.

Insurgents have been fighting for years for its independence or for merger of the territory with Pakistan. The fighting has left tens of thousands of people, mainly civilians, dead.

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