Security forces killed three suspected militants Sunday in a gunfight in India-administered Kashmir, defence sources said.

A group of militants were spotted by Indian Army commandos in the border town of Tangdhar, the sources said.

Three rebels were killed in the gunfight that followed and a search operation was on for others who may have escaped, the sources said.

Meanwhile, a curfew continued in the Kashmir Valley region for the 44th day with reports of sporadic protests.

Over 60 people have died in action by security forces to control violent anti-India protests that broke out in South Kashmir after security forces killed a local leader of the militant Hizbul Mujahideen group on July 8. Over 5000 have been injured.

Schools, colleges and businesses have been closed, and supplies of essential items were running low.

Oil tanker operators announced an indefinite strike from Sunday saying their trucks and drivers were being attacked by mobs, IANS news agency reported.

At a rally in Uttar Pradesh, Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh blamed neighbouring Pakistan for the current spiral of unrest.

"I would like to appeal to the Kashmiris that we do not want to see stones, bricks and firearms in their hands but pen, computers and jobs," Singh said.

Over 50,000 people - civilians, military, police and militants - have been killed since a secessionist militant movement broke out in India-administered Kashmir in the 1980s.

India claims Pakistan supports and encourages the rebels, but Islamabad has consistently denied this charge.

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