May 1999 News


Toll Reflects 5 Days of Fighting on Kashmir Border

15 May 1999

SRINAGAR, India, May 15 — At least 23 people including seven Indian soldiers and 15 guerrillas have been killed in five days of fighting between Pakistan and India on the Kashmir border, officials and media reports said on saturday. In a separate incident on Saturday, unidentified guerrillas shot and killed a provincial lawmaker of the National Conference, the ruling party in the troubled state of Jammu and Kashmir, said police in the state’s summer capital of Srinagar.

GOVERNMENT SOURCES said the gun battle between "Pakistani infiltrators" and indian soldiers started on May 11 and was continuing near Kargil, a border town in the mountainous Ladakh region, 138 miles northeast of Srinagar.

The Press Trust of India (PTI) reported late on Friday that seven indian soldiers, another Indian and 15 Pakistani militants had been killed in a heavy exchange of fire in Kargil. It said guerrillas and Pakistani soldiers had infiltrated the area since Tuesday under the cover of artillery fire. Army authorities in Srinagar and Kargil were not available for confirmation of the reports. Officials in New Delhi said they could not immediately comment on the reports. Bodies of soldiers killed were brought to Srinagar, PTI said, but added that no additional details were available. An Indian official said on Saturday that Pakistani troops on Friday started heavy shelling in the Drass area near Kargil and forced most people to migrate to safer places. Government sources in Srinagar said a bridge in the Drass area was damaged by an artillery shell.

NUCLEAR TESTS Shooting between India and Pakistani troops stationed along 450 miles cease-fire line has escalated since the two rival countries conducted nuclear tests in May 1998. On Friday, India said Pakistani artillery fire across the disputed border wounded four people and damaged an ammunition dump in the Kashmir valley. Damage to the ammunition dump in the border town of Kargil had been contained, the defense ministry said.

In Srinagar, police said Abdul Ahad Kar, a provincial lawmaker for the National Conference, was shot dead on Saturday near his home at Langate in the valley’s Kupwara district 55 miles northwest of Srinagar. So far, no militant group has claimed responsibility for killing Kar. On Friday, a senior political worker of National Front, Ashraf AliBeigh, was shot dead by suspected separatist guerrillas in Srinagar, police said. Rebels have killed hundreds of activists of the National Conference and other pro-India political parties since a rebellion against New Delhi’s rule broke out in the Himalayan region in 1990. Nearly a dozen militant groups are fighting for Kashmir’s independence or merger with neighboring Pakistan. Police charge but says it offers diplomatic and moral support to the Kashmiri people in their struggle for self-determination.

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This Archives is Maintained by Md. Sadiq, 1998