SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Rebels attacked a police squad in the Indian portion of Kashmir, triggering a gunbattle that left three civilians, one officer and an assailant dead, police said Sunday.
The unit came under fire Saturday night as it reached a road accident site on a key highway connecting Kashmir Valley with the rest of India, said senior police officer S.P. Pani.
He said the dead civilians were road construction officials of a private company.
One civilian and one police officer also were injured in the shootout, he said.
Police believe two insurgents escaped under the cover of darkness after the officers swiftly retaliated in Malpora , a village 65 kilometers (40 miles) south of Srinagar, the main city in the Indian-held Kashmir.
On Sunday, thousands of people participated in the burial of the militant who came from a village in the Indian portion of Kashmir. They chanted "Go India, Go Back," ''We Want Freedom" amid a gun salute by militants who joined the procession.
Insurgents have been fighting for Kashmir's independence from India or merger with neighboring Pakistan since 1989.
Pakistan's army, meanwhile, accused Indian troops of shooting and wounding at least four Pakistani villagers late Saturday near the U.N.-monitored Line of Control separating the two sides.
The statement said the Indians also targeted civilians in the village of Thruti with mortars and that Pakistani troops returned fire.
There was no immediate comment from the Indian army.
India accuses Pakistan of arming and training the rebels, a charge Islamabad denies. Pakistan says it only provides moral and diplomatic support to them. India and Pakistan have fought two wars for control of Kashmir, which is divided between them by a cease-fire line.