Indian police kill suspected militants in Jammu

It is believed the armed men in the lorry were travelling to a hideout in Kashmir

Indian soldiers at the site of the gun battle at Nagrota, on the Jammu-Srinagar motorway. AP
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Indian security forces on Wednesday killed at least four suspected militants in a gun battle after chasing down a lorry on a motorway near Jammu city, a link to Kashmir, police said.

The battle began at a police checkpoint in Sidhra near Jammu city at 7am, when officers tried to stop the lorry travelling to the Himalayan region of Kashmir.

But the lorry driver accelerated and later fled, arousing suspicion from police.

When a police team started searching the abandoned lorry, militants hiding inside opened fire and a gun battle ensued, said Mukesh Singh of Jammu police.

“All the terrorists were killed in retaliatory fire," Mr Singh said.

“The police recovered seven AK-47 rifles, one M4 rifle and three pistols [and] ammunition,” he said.

The lorry caught fire in the gun battle and fire tenders were used to douse the blaze.

Indian security forces douse a burning lorry, which troops intercepted after its 'unusual movement' on a motorway. AP

The driver of the lorry was still at large on Wednesday with a manhunt under way.

Police sealed the area and stopped traffic on the road that connects the region with New Delhi.

“We have alerted all the police stations and accordingly search operations are being conducted to apprehend the absconder," Mr Singh said.

He said the lorry was intercepted after a special team spotted the unusual movement of the vehicle. Lorries usually travel in the area after noon.

It is believed the militants were being taken to a hideout in Kashmir.

Kashmir is a disputed territory between India and Pakistan, with both countries claiming the entire region. Rebels have been fighting against Indian rule since 1989.

The valley is experiencing an increase in militant activities since August 2019 when New Delhi arbitrarily stripped the partial autonomy of the region and divided the disputed region into two federally governed territories.

Police have tightened security ahead of India's Republic Day on January 26.

Security forces claimed to have averted a militant attack in Udhampur near Jammu on Tuesday after defusing a 15kg improvised explosive device.

Updated: December 28, 2022, 9:37 AM