By Zahid Rafiq
SRINAGAR, Jammu and Kashmir Three construction workers were killed in a suspected militant attack early Monday close to the boundary between Indian and Pakistan in the Akhnoor sector of Jammu and Kashmir.
According to Indian police sources, the attack was carried out at around 2.00 am Monday (2030GMT Sunday) on a General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF) camp in the village of Battal, 55 kilometers from the city of Jammu. The GREF is the parent force of the Border Roads Organization (BRO), which builds and maintains border roads in India.
“We cannot say much about the attacks yet except that three laborers were killed and the attackers have escaped. We have laid a siege around the area and cordoned off all the roads around the attack site to nab the attackers,” a senior Indian police official told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity since he is not authorized to speak to the media.
“We believe that the attackers were two or three in number and so far they are still on the loose.”
Police sources also said that a high alert had been sounded in the Jammu district.
Tensions between the two nuclear rivals have increased since India accused Pakistan of having links to gunmen who killed 19 soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir last September.
Pakistan has denied the charge and accuses India of repressing pro-independence protests that started in the disputed Himalayan region in July 2016 when more than 100 Kashmiri civilians were killed allegedly by Indian forces and thousands others were injured.
Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.
The two countries have fought three wars – in 1948, 1965 and 1971 – since they were partitioned in 1947, two of which were fought over Kashmir.
Kashmiri resistance groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan. More than 70,000 people have reportedly been killed in the conflict since 1989. India maintains more than half a million troops in the disputed region.