SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Assailants separately shot and killed three men in Indian-controlled Kashmir late Tuesday, police said, blaming militants fighting against Indian rule in the disputed region for the string of targeted attacks.
In the first incident, police said militants fired at a prominent chemist, Makhan Lal Bindroo, at his pharmacy in the region’s main city of Srinagar.
Bindroo, a Kashmiri Hindu, was taken to a hospital where he died, police said, adding that government forces cordoned off the area and launched a manhunt for assailants.
Within an hour, a street food vendor from India’s eastern state of Bihar was shot-point blank in another neighborhood in Srinagar, killing him on the spot, police said.
In the third incident on Tuesday night, gunmen fatally shot a taxi driver in the northern Hajin area.
Police in a statement called the killings “terror incidents.”
“Investigation is in progress and officers continue to work to establish the full circumstances of these terror crimes,” the statement said.
Last week, assailants fatally shot two men in Srinagar in targeted killings.
The Himalayan territory of Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan and both the archrivals claimed it in its entirety.
Rebels in Indian-controlled Kashmir have been fighting New Delhi’s rule over the region since 1989.
Most Muslim Kashmiris support the rebel goal of uniting the territory, either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country.
India insists the Kashmir militancy is Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. Pakistan denies the charge, and most Kashmiris consider it a legitimate freedom struggle.
Tens of thousands of civilians, rebels and government forces have been killed in the conflict.
The Associated Press