Militants disguised as cricketers killed five paramilitary police in an ambush in Srinagar on Wednesday, officials said, in the deadliest attack for nearly five years.
Two gunmen from the local pro-Pakistan group Hizbul Mujahideen, which claimed the attack, were shot dead after the assault on a playing field in the Bemina district of Srinagar that is home to a police school and barracks.
A senior police officer, speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity, said the extremists pretended to be joining children for a game of cricket before taking out automatic weapons from a bag and throwing a grenade.
"They first mixed up with the children playing cricket," said the officer, who was not authorised to speak to the media.
Four civilians were also injured, said a police statement.
The Kashmir News Network (KNS), a Srinagar-based news agency, reported receiving a call from a Hizbul Mujahideen spokesman who claimed the "guerilla attack" and said others would follow.
Home secretary RK Singh told reporters that up to four men might have been involved and the dead gunmen appeared "not local but from across the border" in Pakistan.
Wednesday's deaths marked the deadliest single day for Indian security forces since July 2008 when a landmine killed nine soldiers on a bus on the outskirts of Srinagar.
Separatists called a strike on Wednesday and a 24-year-old man taking part in a protest to demand the return of Afzal Guru's body to Kashmir was shot dead by police in Srinagar, a source at the Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences hospital told AFP.
Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah had argued recently that the government should withdraw emergency laws that give security forces in Kashmir near-complete legal immunity.
Attacks in Srinagar have become rare in recent years with violence across the region at its lowest level since the insurgency began in 1989, boosting the vital local tourism industry.