Officials say a rebel fighter was also killed in India-administered Kashmir's Anantnag town. Also on Wednesday, New Delhi extended president's rule in the region by six more months effective July 3.

Indian paramilitary troopers stand guard in Srinagar on June 12, 2019, following a rebel attack on a patrol in Kashmir's southern Anantnag town.
Indian paramilitary troopers stand guard in Srinagar on June 12, 2019, following a rebel attack on a patrol in Kashmir's southern Anantnag town. (AFP)

Rebels fighting against Indian rule in disputed Kashmir have launched an attack on paramilitary soldiers, killing five soldiers, police said on Wednesday. One unidentified rebel also died in the fighting.

Police said at least two rebels in a car approached soldiers patrolling streets in the southern town of Anantnag [also called Islamabad] on Wednesday and jumped out while firing at them.

The soldiers shot back and in the exchange of gunfire five soldiers and a rebel were killed.

Three soldiers and a police officer were injured.

Indian soldiers cordoned off the area and were looking for the second rebel.

India extends president's rule

The attack came as the regional governor approved an extension of the president's rule in the disputed Himalayan region for six months effective July 3, officials said.

"Based on the prevailing situation in the state as stated in the report of Governor of Jammu and Kashmir [India-administered Kashmir], the Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has approved the extension of president's rule in Jammu and Kashmir," according to a statement by the government. 

The region is currently under the presidential rule, under which the federal government directly rules the state.

The region has not had an elected government since June 2018, when Prime Minister Modi's right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party pulled out of an alliance with the regional pro-India People's Democratic Party.

Deadly conflict 

Nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan each administer part of Kashmir, but both claim the Himalayan territory in its entirety. 

Resistance groups demand that Kashmir be united either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country in a UN-backed or sponsored plebiscite.

Anti-India sentiment runs deep in Kashmir's mostly Muslim population and most people support the rebels' cause against Indian rule. 

Nearly 100,000 people have been killed in the uprising and the ensuing Indian military crackdown since 1989. 

Brutal tactics 

The Indian military has been accused of suppressing the Kashmiri uprising using brutal tactics, including the notorious pellet guns, which have wounded or blinded many Kashmiris.

India accuses Pakistan of arming and training the rebels, which Pakistan denies. Islamabad says it only backs Kashmiris politically and diplomatically. 

India abusing "lawless" detention act

Also on Wednesday, rights group Amnesty International said Indian government is widely misusing a law allowing for detention without trial in the disputed region, and fuelling animosity with it.

The Public Safety Act (PSA) is a "lawless law" under which the authorities hold children, old people and the disabled, and it should be scrapped, the group said.

"This act is contributing to inflaming tensions between the state authorities and local populace and must be immediately repealed," said Aakar Patel, head of Amnesty International India.

India has long defended the 41-year-old PSA as essential to maintaining law and order in the Muslim-majority region.

"There is a judicial system in place where there are checks and balances," chief secretary of Jammu and Kashmir state, BVR Subrahmanyam, told Reuters news agency in defence of the law.

The law allows for detention for up to two years if a person is deemed acting "in any manner prejudicial to the security of the state".

Amnesty said that was a breach of international human rights law.

Police did not let the group launch its report in Kashmir's main city of Srinagar on Wednesday, citing the "law and order" situation, a spokesman for the right group said.

In June 2018, India said a report by the United Nations, that argued the PSA obstructed the normal course of law in Kashmir, was "a selective compilation of largely unverified information."

Amnesty based its report on the analysis of 210 cases of detention under the PSA between 2012 and 2018.

India police detaining children 

The law prohibits the detention of children but Amnesty documented several cases where minors were knowingly detained.

In more than 90 percent of cases the group analysed, detainees faced both PSA detentions and criminal proceedings in parallel, on the basis of the same or similar allegations.

"The police appear to use the PSA as a safety net, using it to secure the detention of suspects who are released, or likely to be released, on bail," the group said.

It said it found 71 cases of revolving-door detentions, in which authorities kept on issuing orders to keep people behind bars.

One resistance leader, Masarat Alam Bhat, has been detained for a cumulative period of 20 years since 1990, despite never being charged with a crime, Amnesty said.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies