SRINAGAR, India (Reuters) - Three men were killed in a shootout with Indian security forces in Kashmir on Friday, the day after a local election official died in an attack in the restive northern region, where Muslims are in a majority.
It was not clear whether the men who were killed had carried out Thursday’s attack in South Kashmir, in which one poll official died and five others were injured, but the clash took place in the same area.
“Three militants were killed in a fierce gun battle in South Kashmir’s Shopian district where a poll official was killed last evening ... “ South Kashmir police chief Vijay Kumar told Reuters. “We are investigating if it is the same group that attacked a poll party last evening.
The dead men were from Hizbul Mujahideen, a Kashmiri separatist group, Kumar said.
Many people stayed away from voting on Thursday in the Anantnag constituency of South Kashmir, after a string of attacks on village elders. Police said the attacks were the work of militants determined to derail the poll.
The constituency was one of six in Jammu and Kashmir that is voting on separate days in India’s five-week general election, in order to minimize security risks. Voting ends on May 12 with results due to be announced four days later.
Reporting by Fayaz Bukhari; Writing by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Larry King