Among the dead in the latest spate of killings was an army officer. He was killed in a battle with Kashmiri fighters.

Police said the fighters also abducted the head of a hamlet 40 km south of provincial capital Srinagar and shot him dead.

The headman was identified as Ghulam Hassan, a top-ranking activist of provincial chief minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed’s  People’s Democratic Party.

In another incident, three Muslim civilians, Mohammed Kabir, Bashir Ahmed and Mohammed Ashraf, were gunned down in the southern Kashmir districts of Pulwama, Poonch and Doda. A pro-government militaman was also killed in the Baramula district. 

Indian security forces killed 10 suspected Kashmiri fighters in separate encounters in different parts of the state.

Security officials said two of the killed were trying to enter illegally from Pakistani-administered Kashmir.

The spate of killings came a day after two Kashmiri fighters stormed an Indian military camp in Jammu and lobbed grenades at sleeping troops.

The surprise attack left 14 dead, including the two fighters.

The pre-dawn attack was one of the worst attacks since India and Pakistan began mending fences since April. It coincided with Indian President Abdul Kalam’s official three-day visit to the state.

Violence has raked Kashmir since 1989 when the latest round of uprising against Indian rule began. More than a dozen  groups have been agitating for the region’s independence.