Indian police station and army base in Kashmir attacked by militants

Attacks spark calls to cancel talks between prime ministers of India and Pakistan to discuss rising violence in Kashmir

Militants dressed in Indian army uniforms have killed eight people in attacks on an Indian police station and army base near the Pakistan border, sparking calls to cancel talks between the nations’ leaders at the weekend.

The group of about three militants killed six people in the attack on the police station in the disputed Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday, then hijacked a truck and drove to the army camp, where they hid in a building, security forces said. They killed at least two soldiers, including a lieutenant colonel, a senior army office said.

“They abandoned the truck on the national highway and perhaps took another vehicle and carried out an attack on the army camp in Samba. The gunfight inside the camp is going on,” said Rajesh Kumar, an inspector general of police.

A day before the attack, the Indian prime minister, Manmohan Singh, had said he would meet his Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif, on the sidelines of the UN general assembly at the weekend. They were expected to discuss rising violence in the Kashmir region.

Politicians from India’s nationalist opposition party immediately called for the cancellation of the talks, the first between the two leaders since Sharif returned to office in May.

While Singh strongly condemned what he called a “heinous terrorist attack”, he suggested the meeting, expected on Sunday, would go ahead.

“This is one more in a series of provocations and barbaric actions by the enemies of peace,” Singh said in a statement. “Such attacks will not deter us and will not succeed in derailing our efforts to find a resolution to all problems through a process of dialogue.”

India has faced an insurgency in its part of Muslim-majority Kashmir since 1989 and has long accused Pakistan of supporting the militants fighting Indian rule. The chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah, told reporters he believed the group had entered from Pakistan within the past 24 hours.

Pakistan’s army and government were not immediately available for comment.

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