Srinagar, India, Aug 14 (efe-epa).- Suspected militants shot dead two police officers and wounded one on Friday amid tight security arrangements in the troubled-region of Indian Kashmir on the eve of the country’s Independence Day.
Police said the attack took place in the region’s main city of Srinagar, where the slain officers were on security deployment.
“Militants attacked a police party deployed in Nowgam area of the city and fired indiscriminately at them,” a police officer told EFE.
“Three officers were wounded in the attack. Two of them succumbed to their injuries in a hospital,” the officer said.
Kashmir Valley police chief Vijay Kumar told reporters that the police had identified the attackers and vowed to neutralize them soon.
The area on the outskirts of Srinagar city was cordoned off for a search operation.
The attack comes days after the government marked the first anniversary of revoking the disputed Himalayan region’s special autonomous status amid growing resentment and anger among locals.
India prepares to celebrate its 74th Independence Day on Saturday, and security in the troubled region of Kashmir has been beefed up to thwart militant attacks.
Majority of the people in the Kashmir Valley observe India’s Independence Day as a “black day”.
Kashmir separatist leaders issue shutdown calls for Aug. 15 every year, asking people to switch off their lights en masse for a blackout in the evening.
However, most of the anti-India leaders have either been jailed or detained in their houses since Aug. 5 last year, when the Hindu nationalist government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi government took away the special rights and powers of Muslim-majority region and divided it into two federally-ruled territories.
For the past year, normal life in Kashmir has remained almost completely paralyzed.
Thousands of security check posts have been installed across the valley manned by gun-wielding police and paramilitary officers.
Counter-insurgency operations have accelerated, making 2020 one of the bloodiest years in recent times in the region that has lost more than 70,000 lives, mostly civilians, in the last 30 years of conflict.
Schools and colleges have remained closed for almost the entire year with the economy taking an unprecedented hit and causing half a million job losses by the end of last year, according to the Kashmir chamber of commerce.
The hardships have been exacerbated by an unending coronavirus lockdown that residents allege is done to keep the people indoors and prevent street protests.
Apart from social, political, and economic ramifications, the Indian government’s decision to bifurcate the cold desert region of Ladakh from Kashmir has also irked China, which claims parts of the strategically vital region.
In June, at least 20 Indian soldiers died in a clash with Chinese troops during a border fight in Ladakh.
Kashmir, one of the most militarized territories in the world, has been the subject of an unending sovereignty dispute between Pakistan and India since 1947.
The two countries, which have fought three wars, including two over Kashmir, claim the divided territory in its entirety but rule its parts. China also claims at least parts of the territory. EFE-EPA