SRINAGAR: Gunmen have shot and killed a 3-year-old boy and his father in Indian-held Kashmir, police said on Saturday.
Police Inspector-General Syed Javaid Mujtaba Gillani blamed alleged militants fighting against Indian rule for the killings late Friday.
Gunmen first threw a grenade, and when that didn’t explode they sprayed bullets at Bashir Ahmed, himself a former militant, outside his home as he was carrying his son, said a police officer, speaking on customary condition of anonymity.
The attack took place in northern Sagipora village in Indian-held Kashmir’s Sopore region. Ahmed died on the spot, while his son died at a hospital on Saturday.
Sopore has seen a recent spate of similar attacks on civilians and former militants, with rebel groups and government troops blaming each other.
Meanwhile, villagers on Saturday discovered the bullet-riddled body of a militant in an orchard in Indian Kashmir’s Tangmarg area. Troops and anti-India separatists blamed each other for the killing.
On Monday, the bullet-riddled bodies of three local men bearing torture marks were found in the region, leading to days of protests and clashes between Kashmiris and government forces.
Top separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani has condemned the killings and called for an independent probe. He also asked people to observe a shutdown on Sunday to protest the killings.
Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan, with the rivals each claiming it in its entirety.
Most people in India’s portion mistrust Indian rule, and more than 68,000 people have died in a militant uprising that started in 1989 and a subsequent Indian military crackdown.
Several rebel groups have battled hundreds of thousands of Indian forces deployed in the region for independence or a merger with Pakistan in a conflict that has killed tens of thousands mostly civilians. Violence has declined steadily in the region in the last decade.
But armed encounters between rebels and troops have increased in recent weeks and last week four suspected rebels and a soldier were killed during a night-long battle.
The armed rebellion has largely been suppressed, and most public resistance is expressed in street protests.