SRINAGAR - Suspected militants launched an attack in Indian-held Kashmir killing three civilians and a policeman, the latest violence to hit the restive valley, authorities said on Sunday.

One of the militants was also killed when they attacked policemen clearing the site of a road accident late Saturday near Kulgam district.

"A police party was at the accident site when they were attacked. In the cross-fire, one policeman and three civilians died. One of the attackers also died," a police source told AFP.

On Sunday, thousands of local residents gathered to mourn the dead militant at a funeral where rebels fired shots into the air as a mark of respect.

The Press Trust of India said the attacker had been identified as Fayaz Ahmed Ashwar, who carried a bounty of 200,000 rupees on his head over his role in an attack on a military convoy in 2015 that killed two soldiers.

Anti-India sentiment runs deep in the predominantly Muslim Kashmir valley, one of the world's most heavily militarised areas, where most people favour independence or a merger with Pakistan.

Apart from armed militant groups, the roughly 500,000 Indian soldiers deployed in Kashmir are regularly involved in clashes with civilians, fuelling growing resentment against New Delhi.

The clashes have become more frequent since the killing of popular rebel leader Burhan Wani last July which sparked widespread unrest.

On Monday, five policemen and two civilians were killed when militants attacked a bank van in Kulgam, and two soldiers were killed in an attack along the de facto border with Pakistan.

Monitoring Desk adds: Pakistani and Saudi channels went off the air in most parts of Held Kashmir on Sunday triggering sarcasm in social media, a day after the Jammu and Kashmir government ordered cable networks to remove 34 channels from their platforms, reported Hindustan Times.

The government’s order signed by principal secretary (home department) RK Goyal, said the transmission of these channels was against the cable TV rules and district magistrate had the power to seize the equipment in case of a violation. Moreover, it added, such channels have the “potential to encourage or incite violence and create law and order disturbance in the Kashmir Valley”.

Deputy Commissioner, Pulwama, Muneerul Islam told HT that in his district the ban was successfully implemented and soon after receiving the order he had asked the cable operators to adhere by the same. He added that most of the channels on the list were not being transmitted for a long time now.

The May 6 order came a day after Indian information and broadcasting minister M Venkaiah Naidu expressed concern over reports that these channels, many of which propagate hardline Islam and indulge in anti-India propaganda, were being broadcast without the government’s permission.

Topping the list are the Urdu and English channels of Peace TV of TV evangelist Zakir Naik.

Some of the channels are from Pakistani networks such as ARY, PTV and GEO. Several Islamic channels like Karbala TV, Ahli-biat TV, Noor TV and Hadi TV are also mentioned in the order along with a sports channel, two culinary channels and a music channel.

Cable operators cannot beam channels not permitted by the information and broadcasting ministry. Private cable networks, which beam a lot of Pakistani and Saudi channels, are popular though satellite services such as Tata Sky and Airtel are also available in the Valley.

On Sunday afternoon, authorities told HT that the ban was being implemented while residents, subscribing to different cable networks, gave a varied response regarding the channels they were not receiving.

Some Srinagar residents said most Pakistani news channels were not accessible while Peace TV English and Urdu both were, while others said none of the 34 channels were displayed. Some, however, said all the 34 channels were still being transmitted.

“The cable operators had stopped broadcasting Pakistani channels – mostly 24x7 news like the ARY group — after the unrest began post killing of Hizb commander Burhan Wani. The channels were back recently before being taken off air after the Saturday’s order,” a Srinagar resident said.

On social media, many Kashmiris criticised the move by arguing that such channels were not responsible for fuelling protests.

“This is hilarious. Pakistani sports channels and drama serials incite violence,” tweeted political analyst Gowhar Geelani.

Blogger Muhammad Faysal wrote on Twitter, “Apparently my mother has been radicalised by the daily dose of Humsafar and Zindagi Gulzar Hai.”