November 2003 News

Violence Breaks Out Despite Truce

27 November 2003

Srinagar: At least seven people have been killed in Kashmir despite a ceasefire between India and Pakistan. One civilian died in a grenade attack while police say six militants were killed in two separate incidents. Army guns fell silent at midnight on Tuesday after India accepted a Pakistani truce offer on Sunday. Tit-for-tat shelling - a daily feature along the frontier since 1989 - has stopped, but militants resisting Indian rule have vowed to fight on. Fresh clashes Suspected militants threw a grenade at a security post in the state's summer capital, Srinagar. It missed the target and exploded on the road, killing a civilian and wounding five others. At least six militants were killed in two separate incidents in the Jammu region, police said on Thursday. Four were shot dead after a two-hour exchange with Indian troops in a remote mountainous area in Udhampur district. A joint patrol of army soldiers and police had chanced upon the militants, the police said. You can say that things have started moving Yashwant Sinha Indian Foreign Minister In the second attack, border police are said to have shot dead two militants in Doda district early on Thursday. But the situation on the Line of Control (LoC) - which divides the Indian and Pakistani parts of Kashmir - is said to be quiet 48 hours after the ceasefire came into effect. Hardliners' scorn India's Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, told reporters on Thursday that he will visit Pakistan to attend a regional summit in January. Pakistan's leaders have been eager to play host to Mr Vajpayee, hoping that his visit will kick-start negotitiations over Kashmir. Indian Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha said the truce had improved the climate between India and Pakistan. Civilians have suffered most from regular artillery exchanges 'You can say that things have started moving,' he said in an interview published in The Hindu newspaper. 'Before there was a sense of despair that something dramatic was not happening.' But spokesmen for the largest separatist groups have said they are not bound by the truce and will continue their guerrilla war. Hardliners opposed to Indian rule say the truce is 'meaningless' unless the Kashmir dispute is resolved. 'Stop the militants' Pakistan made the offer of a ceasefire along the LoC on Sunday, to coincide with the festival of Eid al-Fitr marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. India accepted Pakistan's offer a day later, and said it would extend it to the disputed Siachen glacier area - the world's highest battlefield. However, the Indian foreign ministry said the ceasefire could become durable only if Pakistan stopped allowing extremists into Indian-administered Kashmir. Pakistan has always denied arming the 14-year-old uprising against Indian rule in Kashmir, saying it only lends diplomatic backing to an indigenous insurgency. Kashmir is claimed in its entirety by both countries and has been the cause of two of their three wars since independence from Britain in 1947. More than 60,000 people have died in 14 years of insurgency in Indian-administered Kashmir.


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