2 Indian laborers killed in Kashmir grenade attack

SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Two Indian laborers in disputed Kashmir were killed in a grenade attack which police blamed on militants fighting Indian rule.

Police said Tuesday that a suspect arrested in the attack was a “hybrid terrorist,” a term authorities use for alleged undercover militants who slip back into normal lives and lack police records.

Police said the grenade was lobbed at the two workers in their rented dwelling in southern Shopian district on Monday night. The men were taken to a hospital, where they died, police wrote on Twitter.

The two victims were from the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh and were in Kashmir as day laborers, who commonly work in apple orchards or in construction.

The incident came two days after assailants fatally shot a Kashmiri Hindu man in Shopian in violence police also blamed on militants.

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan and claimed by both in its entirety.

Rebels in the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir have been fighting against New Delhi’s rule since 1989. Most Muslim Kashmiris support the rebel goal of uniting the territory, either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country.

India insists the Kashmir militancy is Pakistan-sponsored terrorism, but Pakistan denies the allegation. Tens of thousands of civilians, rebels and government forces have been killed in the conflict.

Kashmir has witnessed a spate of targeted killings since October 2021. Some Hindus, including migrant workers from Indian states, have been killed. Police say the killings — including that of Muslim village councilors, police officials and civilians — have been carried out by anti-India rebels.

Indian troops have intensified their counterinsurgency operations across the region amid a clampdown on dissent and media freedom after New Delhi in 2019 stripped the region’s semi-autonomy and removed inherited protections on land and jobs.

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