Two Kashmir schoolteachers shot dead as civilian killings spike

Assailants have fatally shot two schoolteachers in Indian-administered Kashmir in a sudden rise in targeted killings of civilians in the disputed region, police said.

Authorities blamed the rebels fighting against Indian rule for the attack in the outskirts of Srinagar, the region’s main city, on Thursday.

Police said the attackers fired at a female teacher and her male colleague at the Government Boys Higher Secondary School in Srinagar’s Eidgah area from a close distance and later fled.

Both died on the spot, police said, as government forces cordoned off the area and launched a search for the assailants.

The victims were members of the Hindu and Sikh minorities.

Thursday’s incident marks the seventh targeted killings in six days.

On Tuesday, gunmen shot and killed three men in separate attacks that police also blamed on the rebels.

One of the victims was a prominent Kashmiri Hindu minority chemist while another was a street food vendor from India’s eastern state of Bihar. The third victim was a taxi driver.

The killings were widely condemned by pro-India as well as anti-India politicians.

In all, 25 civilians, including political workers, have been killed in targeted assassinations this year, according to police records.

The Himalayan territory of Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan. Both arch rivals claim it in its entirety.

Rebels in the Indian-administered Kashmir have been fighting 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 rebellion is Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. Pakistan denies the charge, and most Kashmiris consider it a legitimate freedom struggle.

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