File photo of a policeman behind a barricade during a general strike in Srinagar, June 25, 2013.
File photo of a policeman behind a barricade during a general strike in Srinagar, June 25, 2013.Reuters

A group of militants in combat uniform attacked an Indian police station in Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday morning, killing 12 people.

The militants opened fire and threw hand grenades at the Hiranagar police station in Kathua district, killing six policemen and three civilians. They hijacked and fled in a truck to an army installation in the nearby Samba district where a shootout is still going on. Three Indian soldiers were gunned down.

"The militants hijacked a truck after the attack on the police station and drove towards Jammu city and carried out another attack on Mesar army camp on Delhi-Jammu national highway near Samba town," Rajesh Kumar, Inspector General of Police for the Jammu range, told Reuters.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has condemned the terror attack saying, "No words are strong enough to condemn the heinous terrorist attack on Hiranagar Police Station and the Army camp at Samba in Jammu and Kashmir this morning. I convey my heartfelt condolences to the families of the brave army and police officers, as well as the innocent civilians martyred in this cowardly attack."

"We are firmly resolved to combat and defeat the terrorist menace that continues to receive encouragement and reinforcement from across the border. Such attacks will not deter us and will not succeed in derailing our efforts to find a resolution to all problems through a process of dialogue," he added. 

The twin fidayeen attacks come a day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh confirmed he will meet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of 68th session of United Nations General Assembly in the US on Sunday. The two leaders are expected to hold discussions over border incursions and the latest twin terrorist attack in J&K.

India has faced insurgency in the northern state for decades and has accused Pakistan of supporting militant groups.

Interestingly, Hiranagar in Kathua is not more than a kilometre away from the Line of Control shared with Pakistan and the militants are believed to have infiltrated into the country only recently. J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah told ANI that the infiltration took place about 12-24 hours ago.

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Latest Reactions from politicians

Digvijaya Singh, Congress Spokesperson: "Condemn Militant attack in Jammu. Pakistan and India both victims of Terror must come together to fight them instead of blaming each. They should also identify the Rogue elements in the Establishment and effectively purge them. Dialogue is the only way to tackle issues," he tweeted.

Prakash Javadekar, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Spokesperson: "Talks between PM Manmohan Singh and Pakistan's Prime minister is not called for, terror and talks cannot happen at the same time," he told ANI.

Meem Afzal, Congress leader: "We strongly condemn this. It is to obstruct talks between Indo-Pak PMs, due to be held in US," he told the news agency.

Tariq Anwar, National Congress Party leader: "Proposed talks between Indo-Pak PMs is good, diplomatic talks should never be abandoned, same time pressure must be created," he said.

Rajnath Singh, BJP President: "I strongly condemn the terrorist attack on the police and security forces in Jammu. The terrorists have attacked India almost at will. The PM is in a hurry to start dialogue with Pakistan. There should be no talks with Pakistan unless there is a conducive environment," he tweeted.

Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, BJP Leader: "If the Congress-ruling government would have invested half its strength, it puts to deal with nationalists, in finishing terrorism from the country, we would not have seen this day," he tweeted.

Sharad Pawar, NCP chief and Agriculture Minister: "Our party strongly condemn terrorist attack in Jammu & Kashmir," the minister tweeted.

Farooq Abdullah, National Conference leader: "I am shocked and saddened at the news of attack by the militants on a police station in Kathua and an army camp in Samba in Jammu & Kashmir. I strongly condemn the attack and sincerely hope that this will not be able to derail the ongoing peace efforts between India and Pakistan," he said in a statement.