Suspected militants kill two Indian policemen in Kashmir

SRINAGAR (AFP) - Suspected militants on Saturday shot dead two policemen in Indian Kashmir, a disputed Himalayan region which has been tense since the hanging of a separatist last month, police said.

The assailants fired at two paramilitary policemen from close range in the attack carried out near a bus stop in Kupwara district, north of the region's main city Srinagar, police said.

"Militants fired at policemen who were discharging their duties near Handwara bus stand this morning. They were shifted to hospital where they were declared dead," a police spokesman told AFP.

The Kashmir valley has been tense since Mohammed Afzal Guru, a Kashmiri separatist, was hanged in February at a jail in New Delhi for his involvement in a 2001 attack on India's parliament which killed 10 people.

A curfew was temporarily imposed in major towns of Indian-administered Kashmir following his execution to contain unrest which claimed three lives, including that of a teenaged boy shot by security forces.

Many in the Muslim-majority region believe Guru did not receive a fair trial and there are fears his hanging could fuel fresh violence in Kashmir, where a separatist conflict has claimed an estimated 100,000 lives over the last 20 years.

Nuclear-armed India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir. Each administers part of the territory but claims the whole area.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.