Mosque siege ends after 6 militants killed
12 June 2001
The Asian Age
Srinagar: Indian forces ended the siege of a mosque in strife-torn Jammu and Kashmir after killing all six separatist militants who had taken refuge there after a shootout. "Three more militants were killed in the overnight operation, we lost a soldier and two others were injured in the encounter," an army spokesman told on Tuesday. Three Muslim separatist guerrillas were killed in an exchange of fire on Monday after troops surrounded the mosque in the Shangus area of Anantnag district. Anantnag is 55 km south of Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir. Earlier, security officials said a group of three or four militants had taken shelter in the mosque after a shootout on Sunday evening. The army spokesman said a search of the area around the mosque was being carried out after the operation ended early on Tuesday. A spokesman of the Pakistan-based guerrilla group Lashkar-e-Taiba called newspaper offices in Srinagar saying the militants in the mosque were members of his group. Residents said the army sent community leaders to the mosque to ask the rebels to surrender but they had refused. In a similar incident in Kashmir last month, militants fled from a mosque under cover of darkness after security forces lifted a siege out of respect for the sanctity of the place of worship.