September 2001 News

Kashmir violence rages on despite regional tension

18 September 2001
The Indian Express
Sanjeev Miglani

Srinagar: Militants fighting Indian rule in Kashmir are carrying on with their campaign, despite fears of an impending strike by the United States on guerrilla camps in Afghanistan. Indian officials battling to quell a 12-year-old revolt in Jammu and Kashmir said on Tuesday they had seen no signs of a let-up in militant violence since last week''s attacks on two US cities and the threat of reprisal. Many of the militants in Kashmir, waging what they call a holy war against India, are of Afghan and Pakistani origin. Newspaper reports had suggested that they would lie low as the international community builds up pressure on them at home. ''There is no change in the ground situation, the terrorists who are here are carrying on like before,'' said Ashok Bhan, police inspector general in Kashmir. Police figures show 72 people died in insurgency-related violence in Indian Kashmir in the five days after the attacks on New York and Washington compared with 67 over the previous five days. Bhan denied reports that rebels were leaving Kashmir to join their brethren in Afghanistan, where Saudi-born dissident Osama bin Laden - the prime suspect of the attacks in New York and Washington - is believed to be holed up. Indeed, one official said intercepts of messages between the ''jehadis'', or holy warriors, in Kashmir suggested they were preparing to dig in as winter approached in the Himalayan region. ''There are intercepts about orders to stock up on food, kerosene (cooking fuel),'' the official said.


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