JAMMU, India (Reuters) -Islamist militants opened fire on a Hindu family in Indian Kashmir, killing five people and wounding nine others, police said on Saturday.
Friday night”s attack comes just ahead of India”s August 15 Independence Day anniversary, when violence usually spikes in the Muslim-majority state where a 15-year separatist revolt has killed tens of thousands of people.
The shooting took place near Chargu, a remote village 65 km (45 miles) east of Jammu, the winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir state, police said.
"The militants attacked a Hindu family of village defense committee members with automatic weapons," a senior police officer told Reuters.
"Five people were killed on the spot and nine others were wounded. Five of the wounded are in a critical condition," he said.
Indian security agencies have organised groups of villagers in remote areas of Jammu and Kashmir into village defense committees and provided them arms and training to protect themselves against militant attacks.
"This is a far-off place and has to be reached by a mountainous trek. Our team has reached the spot this morning and begun rescue operations and investigations," the officer said.
Security has been tightened in the revolt-torn state, and elsewhere across the country, ahead of the August 15 celebrations.
Indian security agencies say there has been a spurt in violence and rebel incursions into Indian Kashmir from the Pakistani sector despite some progress in a peace process between the two countries.
The dispute over Kashmir is at the heart of longstanding rivalry between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan.
Both countries claim the region in full and have fought two of their three wars over it since getting freedom from British colonial rule in 1947. Pakistan celebrates its independence anniversary on August 14.
Although ties have warmed since the neighbours launched a fresh bid for peace two years ago, the recent spurt in violence in Kashmir has disturbed New Delhi which has for long accused Pakistan of arming and training Kashmiri militants.
Islamabad, which says it only gives political and diplomatic support to what it calls an indigenous Kashmiri freedom struggle, has brushed aside Indian concerns.