Gunmen kill elected official, policeman in Kashmir attack

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SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Gunmen killed an official of India’s ruling party and a policeman in disputed Kashmir on Monday, police said.

Police blamed anti-India militants for the attack. None of the rebel groups that have been fighting against Indian rule since 1989 immediately claimed responsibility.

Police officer Sudanshu Verma said militants fired at a municipal office in northwestern Sopore town during a meeting of local councilors. A councilor and a police official were killed, and another councilor was wounded, he said.

Police and soldiers cordoned off the area and searched for the attackers.

The dead councilor was a member of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

The Himalayan region of Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan, and both countries claim it in its entirety. Many Muslim Kashmiris support the rebel goal that the territory be united, either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country.

New Delhi describes the Kashmir militancy as Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. Pakistan denies the charge, and most Kashmiris consider it a legitimate freedom struggle.

Tens of thousands of civilians, rebels and government forces have been killed in the conflict.

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This story has been corrected to say name of the officer is Sudanshu Verma, not Amritpal Singh.