SRINAGAR: In further deterioration of law and order situation in Kashmir Valley, two policemen were killed and another wounded when suspected militants opened fire at a security checkpoint in south Kashmir.

Police said the incident took place late afternoon on Friday when suspected militants, believed to be two to three in number travelling in a private car, fired indiscriminately at a police checkpoint in the main market of Kulgam town.

The attack, first of its kind on J&K Police, took the cops manning the checkpoint by surprise while the suspects fled in their car, taking advantage of the panic that broke out in the area.

"Three policemen were injured. Head constable Tanvir Ahmad and constable Jalal-ud-din, residents of Kulgam, achieved martyrdom while another injured constable Shamis-ud-Din was shifted to Srinagar hospital for treatment," a police spokesperson said in a statement.

The car, a Hyundai Santro, was later found abandoned near Laroo village, some two kilometres away from the site of the attack. The police is tracing the owner of the car.

A wreath laying ceremony was held for the slain at the District Police Lines in Kulgam which was led by DIG North Kashmir, Nitesh Kumar.

The incident comes after days of relative calm in the Valley which was swept by a wave of pro-freedom and anti-India protests following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.

Since the July 8 encounter in which Burhan was killed, officials have reported a spurt in disappearance of local youths who are believed to have joined militant groups.

According to sources, some 60 youths, mostly from south Kashmir, have gone missing in the last more than four months of tensions amid rising levels of infiltration along the Line of Control.

"Of these, around 30 have joined militant groups like Lashkar-e-Toiba and Hizbul Mujahideen while the rest are in the process of picking up arms. We are in touch with their parents and trying to encourage them to surrender," a senior police officer said.