The dead include a housewife and her relative who were killed when a hand grenade was tossed inside a house in Baramulla district.

The incident on Monday came days after a attack on a restaurant left five Indian tourists dead and 17 others wounded in Pahalgam, a resort 96km southeast of capital Srinagar.

A similar attack had damaged another house in Baramulla on Sunday night, police said. They blamed Muslim separatists fighting Indian rule over the disputed region for the attacks. 

However, hundreds of residents who held demonstrations in Kunzer area on Monday alleged that renegades working for the Indian security forces were responsible.

Fierce encounters 

On Monday afternoon, a fighter belonging to Tehrik al-Mujahidin outfit was shot dead by Indian troops in Budgam district. Another fighter died in a firefight with the troops in Kupwara area close to the de facto border with Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

The dispute over Kashmir has
been going on for 56 years

Two fighters were killed in a clash with security forces in Poonch district. Earlier, police found the bullet-riddled body of Abd al-Rashid Butt three days after he was seized from his home at gunpoint in Budgam.

In southern Anantnag district, a  watchman at an apple orchard was shot dead. Also, a villager wounded in a grenade attack on an army picket in Handwara town during the weekend died in hospital on Monday.

Talks with separatists 

Meanwhile, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, chief minister of Indian-administered-Kashmir, has endorsed the Indian interior minister Shivraj Patil's view that the spurt in violence will not stop New Delhi from holding talks with moderate separatist leadership.

The chief minister said he was not really certain why the other separatist groups are reluctant to join the talks. "They are scared of even talking about talks. What is the logic behind this shilly-shallying I don't know," he said.

Mufti Sayeed, whose Peoples’ Democratic Party advocates involving all relevant political and fighting groups in the dialogue process, said the new Indian federal government may take some time to decide on expanding the talks.

Meanwhile, Lashkar-e-Toiba, a powerful fighting group, on Monday said Indian tourists can visit Kashmir without any fear but warned the government against projecting their presence as a sign of return to normalcy.

But two other groups, Jamiat al-Mujahidin and al-Nasirin, asked Indian tourists to leave immediately.