October 12, 2016 / 7:51 PM / 3 years ago

Militants shoot dead political party worker in Kashmir

SRINAGAR (Reuters) - Militants shot dead a political party worker from Indian-controlled Kashmir’s ruling coalition on Wednesday, police said, hours after two suspected militants were killed by armed forces in the region.

Local police said Ghulam Nabi, a party worker of the People’s Conference in Kashmir was shot by at least two armed militants in the Kupwara district.

Kupwara is near the Line of Control, the de facto border that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan, which both claim the Muslim-majority region.

Tensions in the state have been running especially high in recent weeks after an attack by militants last month on an army base in the Indian-controlled part of the disputed region claimed the lives of 19 Indian soldiers.

New Delhi blamed the attack on militants, who crossed over from the Pakistan-controlled part of the region. Pakistan has denied any involvement.

In retaliation, India said its troops had crossed into Pakistan’s side of Kashmir and killed suspected militants in a “surgical strike”, an operation Pakistan says never took place.

Nabi was rushed to hospital but died of his wounds, Police Superintendent Ghulam Jeelani said. The People’s Conference that he worked for, headed by Sajad Lone, is a part of the coalition in power in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Earlier on Wednesday, the army in Indian-controlled Kashmir killed two suspected militants, holed-up in a large government building, ending a three-day stand-off.

Last week, Indian soldiers shot dead seven suspected militants who tried to attack two army bases in Kashmir. Three of them were shot in the Kupwara district where Nabi was killed on Wednesday.

The latest round of tensions over Kashmir initially erupted in July when protests erupted after Indian forces killed a separatist leader.

India accuses Muslim Pakistan of backing the separatists and helping them infiltrate Indian-ruled Kashmir. Pakistan denies this, saying it only offers moral and diplomatic support to the Kashmiri people in their campaign for self-determination.

Writing by Euan Rocha; Editing by Dominic Evans

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