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Police in Indian-controlled Kashmir say militants fire on workers from Punjab state, killing 1

SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Militants in Indian-controlled Kashmir fired at two workers from the northern state of Punjab, killing one and wounding another, police said Wednesday.

Police blamed militants fighting against Indian rule in the disputed region for the attack in Srinagar. Officials did not immediately give further details.

Kashmir has witnessed a spate of targeted killings since October 2019, two months after New Delhi stripped the region of its semi-autonomy, removed inherited protections on land and jobs and cracked down on dissent and press freedom.

Dozens of Hindus, including immigrant workers from Indian states, have been killed in the attacks that also have targeted Muslim village councilors, police officers and civilians.

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

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

India insists the Kashmir militancy is 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.