At least three Indian soldiers and two suspected rebels were killed after they stormed a military camp in disputed Kashmir, officials say.
Suspected rebels have attacked an Indian army post in India-administered Kashmir, killing three soldiers, while two attackers died in the shootout that came amid heightened security ahead of India's independence day celebrations.
Mukesh Singh, a senior police officer in the disputed region, said at least two assailants armed with guns and grenades attacked the camp in the remote Darhal area of southern Rajouri district early on Thursday.
The soldiers responded to the attack, triggering a gunbattle that lasted for at least three hours, Singh said.
A reinforcement of soldiers and counterinsurgency police encircled the camp as the fighting raged inside, officials said.
In addition to the five deaths, two soldiers were injured in the fighting, Singh said.
There was no independent confirmation of the incident.
On Wednesday, Indian police said government forces killed three rebels in Budgam district during a counterinsurgency operation.
Erosion of Muslims' rights
Coming just days after the third anniversary of the revocation of Kashmir’s constitutional autonomy by the Indian government, the attack was sandwiched between two significant dates, with India set to celebrate the 75th anniversary on Monday of independence from British colonial rule.
Many Kashmiris saw the loss of special autonomy as another step in the erosion of the rights of Muslims by India's Hindu-nationalist government.
The government rejects that, saying it would promote the region’s development by drawing it closer to the rest of the country.
The Himalayan region has been disputed by India and neighbouring Pakistan since the end of colonial rule in 1947, with both countries claiming it in full but ruling it in part.