Rebels kill 4 cops in tense Kashmir

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Asianbangla Desk : Suspected rebels shot dead four police officers while security forces killed two militants in Indian Kashmir yesterday as tensions rose before a major Supreme Court hearing on the troubled region. Afp, Srinagar

Five police officers who had stopped near the southern Kashmir town of Shopian to repair their vehicle were ambushed, Inspector General of Police Swayam Prakash Pani told AFP.

Separately, two suspected rebels were killed in a gunfight with government forces not far from the attack on the police, officials said.

The Muslim-majority Himalayan region, divided between India and Pakistan since their split in 1947, has seen a resurgence of hostilities in the past two years. Security officials say at least 144 militants have been killed this year, while more fighters have joined rebel ranks. There are an estimated 250 active underground fighters, they say.

Separatist groups have called a general strike for Thursday and Friday before the Supreme Court hearing, which they fear could allow Indians from outside Kashmir to buy property in the state and get government jobs.

The court will hear arguments on Friday on a legal challenge against a 1954 constitutional provision, Article 35A, that reserved the special privileges for Kashmir permanent residents.

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