Militants target telecoms in Indian Kashmir, one dead

Reuters News
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Posted: May 25, 2015 8:45 AM

By Fayaz Bukhari

SRINAGAR, India (Reuters) - Militants attacked a mobile phone shop in Indian Kashmir on Monday, killing one employee and wounding two, in the second attack in as many days to target telecommunication businesses in the disputed region.

The militants fired at a franchisee outlet of state-owned company BSNL in Sopore in northern Kashmir before fleeing, a senior police officer said.

The attack follows the appearance last week of posters - bearing the name of militant group Lashkar-e-Islam - in the same area, warning phone companies to shut down their operations and landlords to dismantle mobile phone towers erected on their property.

"We warn these telecommunication companies to close all networking services, close their offices and stop recharging services as well. We warn the retailers as well to stop recharging the subscribers within seven days," the posters read.

Militants had hurled two grenades at a mobile phone tower used by Vodafone, Aircel and Airtel near a police station on Sunday. One of the grenades exploded near the tower without causing any damage.

Muslim-majority Kashmir is a heavily militarized region, claimed by both Pakistan and India in full but ruled by the two countries in part.

Separatists have been fighting Indian security forces in the Indian-administered part of the region since 1989, although the frequency of attacks has waned in recent years. India accuses Pakistan of training and arming the rebels, a claim Islamabad denies.

Militants killed an Indian soldier in the south of Indian-administered Kashmir on Monday after they opened fire on an army patrol, the police officer said. The army then killed one of the militants after returning fire.

(Writing by Tommy Wilkes; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)