10 killed in Kashmir despite ceasefire

  • AseanPlus News
  • Friday, 28 Nov 2003

JAMMU: Indian security forces killed at least 10 suspected militants in gunbattles yesterday, a day after a ceasefire between Indian and Pakistani soldiers went into effect along their border, police said. 

India had said that despite the ceasefire between troops of the rival South Asian nuclear powers, it would continue to hunt down suspected militants crossing into Indian Kashmir from Pakistani territory. 

Four suspected rebels were killed in a pre-dawn gunbattle in the village of Nowgam, about 217km north of Jammu, the winter capital of India's Jammu-Kashmir state. 

Separately, a gunfight broke out when a joint patrol of police and Indian army spotted a group of guerrillas in a remote mountainous area of Udhampur district, said an officer at the police control room in state capital, Jammu. 

The gunfight lasted for nearly two hours and four militants were killed, the officer said on condition of anonymity. 

There were no casualties on the army side, he said. Udhampur is about 129km north of Jammu. 

In a third clash, paramilitary soldiers from the Border Security Force shot dead two suspected militants near the Ghat area of Doda district, about 160km north-east of Jammu. One soldier was also wounded, the police officer said. 

The gunfights came a day after a ceasefire between the armies of India and Pakistan – both of which claim the Himalayan Kashmir region in its entirety – went into effect. 

The 1126km Line of Control, which divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan, remained calm, however, police said. 

India accuses Pakistan of arming, training and funding more than a dozen guerrilla groups, who have been fighting since 1989 for independence of the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir, or its merger with Pakistan. Pakistan denies the charge. 

Islamabad said it extended only moral support to the separatists' “freedom cause,” but gave no material help. 

The two countries have fought two wars over Kashmir's control. The insurgency has claimed more than 65,000 lives, mostly civilians. – AP  

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