Eighteen Killed In Clashes
In Indian Kashmir


SRINAGAR, India (Reuters) - At least 18 people have been killed in clashes in the revolt-racked Himalayan region of Kashmir, the center of a military face-off between India and Pakistan, Indian police said Tuesday.
Four Muslim militants were shot dead late Monday in a gunbattle near the Pakistani border in Rajouri district southwest of Srinagar, the summer capital of India's Jammu and Kashmir state.
Later Monday night, four militants and two Indian security force personnel were killed in clashes in the neighboring district of Poonch, police said.
Two civilians were killed and nine were wounded Tuesday when suspected rebels threw a grenade at a security patrol near the Kokernag area of south Kashmir.
"The grenade missed the target and exploded on the road," a police official said.
Elsewhere, three militants, a policeman and two civilians have been killed in separate shootouts in the Kashmir Valley in the past 24 hours, police said.
India accuses Pakistan of training and arming separatist rebels fighting its rule in Kashmir. Pakistan says it only offers the rebels political and diplomatic support.
The nuclear-armed neighbors have been locked in a standoff across their frontier since December when India blamed Pakistan-based Kashmiri rebels for a bloody attack on the Indian parliament in New Delhi.
Close to a million troops have been mobilized on the border.
India has demanded that Pakistan end "cross-border terrorism." Pakistani military ruler General Pervez Musharraf launched a crackdown on militants in January, vowing that Pakistan would not be used as a springboard for attacks on India.
But a senior Indian police official recently told Reuters more than 3,000 guerrillas were waiting in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir to cross into the Indian side of Kashmir.
The neighbors have fought two of their three wars since independence in 1947 over Kashmir. A 740-km (460-miles) Line of Control, or cease-fire line, divides Kashmir between the two.
More than 33,000 people have been killed since 1989 when Islamic guerrillas seeking either independence or union with neighboring Pakistan launched a revolt. Separatists put the toll closer to 80,000.
India controls 45 percent of Kashmir, Pakistan just over a third and China the rest.
Copyright © 2002 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Email This Article


This Site Served by TheHostPros