Indian security forces claimed they shot dead four suspected Pakistani militants who attempted to attack a paramilitary installation in Indian-administered Kashmir on Monday.
The foiled attack on the headquarters of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in north Kashmir’s Sumbal town came two days after suspected Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) separatists ambushed a police party in south Kashmir on Saturday, killing two soldiers, police said.
“All four heavily armed militants were gunned down in an intense shootout that lasted around 40 minutes,” director general of police S.P. Vaid told BenarNews, while describing the attackers as part of a Pakistani suicide squad.
Four automatic rifles, grenades and ammunition were recovered from the slain militants, Vaid said.
“They (the attackers) could be members of Laskar-e-Taiba (LeT),” he said. LeT is a militant outfit based in Pakistan, which, along with India, claims the whole of the Himalyan region of Kashmir.
The attack came amid heightened tensions between the two countries since the alleged beheadings of two Indian soldiers by Pakistani troops on May 1.
Indian Minister of Home Affairs Rajnath Singh applauded security forces for stopping the attack.
“The brave soldiers and officers must be complimented for their alertness and exemplary bravery. This joint operation by security forces has raised (the) morale of forces in the region,” Singh said on Twitter.
Anti-India protesters poured out on the streets of the disputed region that has been on edge since a top HM leader, Burhan Wani, was killed by security forces last July.
Hours after Monday’s attack, anti-India protesters clashed with security forces, injuring four protesters, police said.
Monday’s attack on the CRPF camp was the second suicide attack this year by suspected militants in Muslim-majority Indian Kashmir, where an outbreak of separatist insurgency has claimed more than 70,000 lives since the late 1980s.
On April 27, suspected Pakistani militants stormed the Panzgam army base in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, killing three army soldiers.
‘LoC flare up’
Following a flare-up in cross border skirmishes in the recent past, India’s Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lt. Gen. A.K. Bhatt on Monday spoke to his Pakistani counterpart. Bhatt conveyed serious concerns over the increasing cease-fire violations allegedly by the Pakistan army along the Line of Control (LoC) in Indian Kashmir.
“India will take appropriate retaliatory action if the Pakistan army continued to facilitate militant infiltrations or resorted to cross border shelling along LoC,” Bhatt told his counterpart, according to Press Trust of India.
“India is committed to maintain peace and tranquillity at the LoC,” he said.
The DGMO-level talks took place after the local commanders of the two armies spoke Sunday night at Rawlakot-Poonch sector along the LoC. However, during that conversation the Pakistani commander denied having violated the cease-fire, according to a statement issued by Pakistan military’s Inter-Services Public Relations wing.
LoC is the de-facto border dividing the two arch rivals who have fought three full-blown wars over Kashmir, claimed in its entirety by both countries.
On Sunday, the Indian army rejected a video circulated by Pakistan apparently showing attacks by its army on some Indian posts in Kashmir.
A General Engineering Reserve Force worker was killed and two others, including a Border Security Force soldier, were injured as Pakistan allegedly violated the cease-fire and fired mortar shells on Indian forward posts along the LoC in Rajouri and Poonch districts on Thursday.
On May 15 and 16, the Pakistan army allegedly bombed civilian areas along the LoC in Rajouri, forcing more than 5,000 people to leave their homes and migrate to safer areas.
Two days earlier, the Pakistani army allegedly pounded civilian areas and forward posts along the LoC in Nowshera sector, killing two civilians and wounding three others. The top army commanders of the two countries held discussions on May 2, a day after members of Pakistan Border Action Team allegedly sneaked across the LoC in Poonch and beheaded two Indian army soldiers.