Updated: 04/08/2014 20:18 | By Agence France-Presse

Five die in Indian Kashmir gunbattle ahead of polls

Suspected rebels in Indian Kashmir have shot dead a soldier and two policemen, officials said Tuesday, two days before voting begins in the region for the national election.

Five die in Indian Kashmir gunbattle ahead of polls

New recruits of the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry Regiment march during the passing out parade at an Indian Army base on outskirts of Srinagar on April 5, 2014 - by Rouf Bhat

A gunbattle late Monday in Kralpora village, 130 kilometres (81 miles) northwest of the main city of Srinagar, left one soldier and two policemen dead.

"Two terrorists were killed," said Indian army spokesman N. N. Joshi. 

In another clash Tuesday a policeman  was shot at point-blank range and critically wounded by a suspected rebel in the town of Anantnag, 55 kilometres south of Srinagar.

"The militant also snatched an automatic rifle from the (injured) officer before fleeing the scene," said police officer Sheikh Junaid.

Security has been stepped up across the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir which is scheduled to go to the polls in five stages between April 10 and May 7.

About a dozen rebel groups have been fighting Indian forces since 1989 for independence or merger of the territory with Pakistan.

Pakistan rules half of the Kashmir region but claims the disputed Himalayan territory in full, as does India.

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