A fierce gunfight broke out between Indian security forces and suspected separatists on a national highway in Indian-administered Kashmir on Thursday, killing four militants and injuring two police officers.
Police said 11 AK-47 rifles were recovered after the fight, raising alarm bells that the militants had been planning a significant attack with just days to go until local elections in the restive region.
Mukesh Singh, police chief for the city of Jammu, told reporters that the level of weaponry found on the militants was unprecedented. “It appears that the militants were planning something big, because never in the past [has] each militant been carrying three AK-47s. This is the first [time] that such a huge recovery has been made.”
India accuses Pakistan of allowing or in some cases assisting Pakistan-based militant groups to infiltrate across onto its portion of the disputed region, which is claimed in its entirety by both Delhi and Islamabad. Pakistan denies supporting terrorism.
“There were general intelligence inputs regarding some fresh infiltration bids by Jash-e-Mohammad and Lashker-e-Toiba. We were on the alert. The intelligence inputs were with regard to the elections and disrupting the elections,” Mr Singh told reporters.
Police and paramilitary troops were put on high alert after the gunfight at a checkpoint on the main Jammu-Srinagar highway near Nagrota. The incident began when a truck was stopped for questioning.