Monday, May 01, 2006


'Militants' kill Kashmir Hindus
Suspected Islamic militants have killed at least 22 Hindus and wounded 10 others in a raid in a remote area of Indian-controlled Kashmir, police say.
Police said the victims were taken from their homes in the mountainous Doda district before being shot.

No group has yet said it carried out the attack, the worst since a ceasefire between India and Pakistan in 2003.

More than 60,000 people have been killed since an armed separatist insurgency began in Kashmir in 1989.

News of Sunday's attack in Doda district emerged only on Monday.

It came ahead of a meeting between moderate separatist Kashmiri leaders and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh planned for Wednesday in Delhi.

Mr Singh was swift to condemn the killings, saying people in the state of Jammu and Kashmir had "rejected and rebuffed terrorists repeatedly".


Police Inspector-General Sheesh Pal Vaid said the "pre-planned attack" took place in the remote village of Thawa, about 170km (100 miles) from the city of Jammu.

"The militants forced their victims from three villages into the house of the village chieftain of Kalhand and then shot them dead from close-range," he told the news agency AFP.

Villagers went to a nearby army camp to seek help, but by the time the troops had returned on Monday morning the assailants had gone, he said.

The injured were taken to hospital in Doda.

One survivor of the attack said the militants had come in the night.

"They took one man from each house. The others they told to go inside," the man told Sahara News television channel, Reuters news agency reports.

"They said they would set us free later. After going some distance, they started beating us up and then opened fire."

Jammu and Kashmir chief secretary Vijay Bakaya described the killings as a "massacre" in an interview with Reuters.

On Sunday, police found the bodies of four Hindu cattle grazers who had been abducted in the nearby Udhampur district.

An official told AFP there was still no trace of five other people abducted at the same time.

Kashmir talks

The BBC's Altaf Hussein, in the Jammu and Kashmir summer capital, Srinagar, says that at Wednesday's meeting the Kashmiri leaders are expected to give the Indian government a road map for a resolution of the Kashmir dispute.

Indian intelligence services had warned of an increase in militant attacks in the lead-up to the talks.

Both the Indian and Pakistani armies have observed a ceasefire since 2003 along the de facto border that divides the Kashmir valley, but the conflict between Indian security forces and Kashmiri militants continues.

India accuses Pakistan of failing to dismantle training camps for militants on its soil despite a peace process launched by the two countries more than two years ago.

Pakistan says India is going slow on resolving the dispute on Kashmir, which both countries claim in its entirety.

After talks in January, Indian foreign secretary Shyam Saran accused Islamabad of not doing enough to prevent militants entering Indian-administered Kashmir.

He warned any attacks on India could affect the peace process.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/05/01 09:58:00 GMT



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