Indian army and police officers exchanged gunfire with gunmen after they stormed a bus station and police barracks in northern town of Gurdaspur today, leaving at least seven people dead, including the attackers.
The rebels are reportedly now surrounded by security forces in an abandoned structure inside the police compound in Dinanagar, Punjab state, which lies about 12 miles (20 kilometers) from the Pakistani border.
Senior police officer Dinkar Gupta said the attackers — reportedly dressed in Indian army uniforms — are believed to have come from the Indian portion of the disputed Kashmir region, where rebels have been fighting for an independent state or its merger with Pakistan since 1989.
Gupta said the rebels hijacked a car, fired at the bus station and then entered a police station in Gurdaspur.
Curious onlookers watch from far away as an exchange of fire between Indian armed forces continued with militants holed up in the police station at Dinanagar. Photo by Raminder Pal Singh/EPA
Gupreet Tur, police chief of Gurdaspur district, said: "So far, they [the attackers] have killed five people — two in the police station, two in the adjoining hospital and one outside." At least six people have been injured.
Harchanran Singh Bains, a Punjab state government spokesman, said two of the dead were militants. It was not immediately known if all of the other five were police.
Tur described the altercation as a terror attack, but it has not yet been claimed by any terrorist organizations. A high terror alert has been issued across Punjab state.
The New Delhi Television news channel said three to four rebels carried out the attack near Gurdaspur, which is 280 miles north of the Indian capital of New Delhi.
Indian Army soldiers take position as an exchange of fire continued with militants holed up in the police station. Photo by Raminder Pal Singh/EPA
The Associated Press contributed to this report.