At least two suspected insurgents armed with guns and grenades attacked a camp in the remote Darhal area of southern Rajouri district.
Suspected insurgents attacked an Indian army post in Indian-administered Kashmir, killing three soldiers, while two assailants died in a firefight amid heightened security marking India’s Independence Day celebrations.
The attack took place early on Thursday in the remote Darhal area of southern Rajouri district, India’s only Muslim-majority region.
At least two assailants armed with guns and grenades attacked the camp, said senior police officer Mukesh Singh. The soldiers retaliated and a gun battle ensued that lasted for at least three hours.
Singh said that in addition to five deaths, two soldiers were injured in this battle.
An army official said the area around the post was cordoned off after security forces conducted a search.
“Three jawans were martyred and two were injured in this attack. However, the army opened fire and killed two militants,” said the official, who asked not to be named as he was not authorized to speak to the media.
This incident has not been independently confirmed.
On Wednesday, police said government forces killed three insurgents during a counter-insurgency operation in Bandgam district.
The attacks come days after the third anniversary of the Indian government revoking the constitutional autonomy of the Himalayan region.
India will celebrate its 75th anniversary of independence from British colonial rule on Monday.
Many Kashmiris saw the loss of special autonomy as another step in the erosion of Muslim rights by India’s Hindu nationalist government.
The government has denied the allegation, saying it would boost the region’s development by bringing it closer to the rest of the country.
The Himalayan region has been disputed between India and neighboring Pakistan since the end of colonial rule in 1947, with both countries claiming it in full but ruling it in part.
India holds the populated Kashmir valley and Hindu-majority region around the city of Jammu, while Pakistan controls the western region and its ally China holds the sparsely populated high-altitude region of the mostly Buddhist northern Ladakh region.
Insurgents in Kashmir have been fighting the New Delhi regime since 1989. Most Muslim Kashmiris support the rebels’ goal of uniting the region, either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country.
India claims that the Kashmir insurgency is sponsored by Pakistan, a charge it denies. Most Kashmiris consider the insurgency a legitimate freedom struggle.
Thousands of civilians, rebels and government forces have been killed in the conflict over the past three decades.