SRINAGAR, India (AFP) -Troops shot dead three Islamic rebels in a gunbattle and two soldiers and a civilian were wounded in a car bomb blast in Kashmir, the army said, a day after India’s premier met leaders of the Himalayan state to discuss peace efforts.
The explosion happened when an army convoy was on the move near the summer capital of Srinagar, said army spokesman Vijay Batra on Sunday.
He said a lone militant parked a car packed with explosives on the roadside and fled into a neighbouring housing development.
“The army convoy immediately stopped and troops tried to follow the militant but he blew up the car with a remote (device), injuring two soldiers and a civilian driver,” Batra said.
The spokesman said troops shot dead three militants of two hardline rebel groups near the northern town of Bandipora late Saturday.
“All the three were Pakistani nationals and they were planning suicide attacks in Bandipora and Srinagar,” he said.
Kashmir is in the grip of a 17-year-old insurgency against Indian rule that has so far left tens of thousands dead.
On Saturday Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held a round-table conference with several elected leaders of Indian-controlled Kashmir to discuss peace efforts in the state.
Passions are running high in Kashmir over the killing of two men and two boys by the army on Wednesday after they had launched a manhunt for militants in northern Kupwara district.
The army has expressed regret over the killings and paid 200,000 rupees (4,350 dollars) each to the families of the victims.
India and Pakistan, which each claim the region in full and control it in part, have been holding talks since January 2004 to resolve the dispute that has been the cause of two of their three wars since independence in 1947.