October 2003 News

Rebels Killed In Battle Near Kashmir Leader's Home

18 October 2003
The Washington Post

Srinagar: Indian security forces killed two militants after a lengthy battle near the home of Indian Kashmir's chief minister, police said on Saturday. On Friday, the militants lobbed grenades and fired shots outside Mufti Mohammad Syed's home, killing two soldiers. The rebels, holed up in nearby shops for 24 hours, wounded 12 Indian soldiers and policemen in the overnight exchange of fire in the heart of Srinagar, Kashmir's main city, officials said. 'Two militants have been killed and the fire-fight has stopped but the search operation continues,' R.S. Bhullar, senior official of the Border Security Force, told Reuters. Indian Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani said the Pakistan-based Al-Mansoorian militant group had claimed responsibility, but there was no independent confirmation. In Srinagar, two other little known groups, Farzandan- e-Milat and Al Nasireen, claimed responsibility. Syed, elected chief minister a year ago in hopes he could bring a healing touch to the revolt-racked region, was not at home at the time of the attack but his politician daughter, Mehbooba Mufti, was. She was not injured. 'Such attacks were only aimed at derailing the peace but we would continue to maintain peace in the state and defeat the nefarious designs of the militants,' Syed told reporters. New Delhi accuses Islamabad of sponsoring Islamic guerrillas fighting India's rule in Kashmir, a charge denied by Pakistan. The nuclear-armed neighbors came close to war last year over Kashmir, and India wants a halt to Kashmir violence before talks.


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