Three Indian police personnel posted in India-held Kashmir were killed, reportedly by armed Kashmiris, who have been waging a struggle for the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination.
The three were taken hostage when Kashmiri fighters raided over a dozen homes of police officers in two southern Kashmir villages, Indian officials said, adding that bullet-riddled bodies of the kidnapped policemen were recovered on Friday.
The killings came days after the region’s largest group fighting for Kashmir’s independence asked officers to quit the Kashmiri police force and stay away from operations targeting pro-independence fighters.
A fourth policeman who had resigned from the police days earlier was also among those taken hostage early Friday. The former officer was released unharmed, Indian police said.
Last month, Kashmiri fighters abducted 11 police and their family members in southern Kashmir after Indian forces detained several relatives of the fighters and set ablaze at least two of their homes.
Video of those taken hostage was released to social media reportedly by Kashmiri fighters, asking police not to harass their families.
Riyaz Naikoo, operations commander of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, claimed responsibility for the abductions and demanded the release of family members of all Kashmiri fighters in police custody within three days.
Police quietly released Naikoo’s father and some other relatives of the fighters, who later set free the 11 people they had picked up.
Kashmiri fighters have been fighting Indian control since 1989. India accuses Pakistan of arming and training the fighters, a charge Pakistan denies.
Nearly 70,000 people have been killed in the Kashmiri uprising against India and the ensuing military crackdown from New Delhi.
Most Kashmiris support the cause that the territory be united either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country.