India Says Kashmir Rebels Killed In Gun Battle
22 April 2005
Srinagar: Indian army soldiers shot dead 11 Muslim rebels in gunbattles in Indian Kashmir, an army spokesman said on Friday. He said four militants were killed in a night-time firefight after they tried to cross over to Indian Kashmir from Pakistan west of Srinagar, Kashmir's summer capital. Another seven were killed in two separate gunbattles in northern Kashmir, the spokesman said. In another incident, witnesses reported police used tear gas to disperse a religious procession in Srinagar. The gunbattles come just days after the leaders of India and Pakistan declared their peace process irreversible and agreed to open up the militarised frontier that divides Kashmir to help resolve their long-standing dispute over the region. The neighbours have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir since their independence from Britain in 1947. 'Security forces have achieved major successes in eliminating militants in recent days,' army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel V.K. Batra told Reuters. Police said 75 militants, including some top rebels, have been killed this month. Police fired in the air and used tear gas to disperse a religious procession in downtown Srinagar, witnesses said. They said several hundred Muslims, chanting religious slogans, formed in a procession in the Khankah area of Srinagar to mark Idd- Milad-u-Nabi (Prophet's Birthday). 'Over two dozen people were detained by police for precautionary measures,' a police officer said. Jammu and Kashmir, torn by 15 years of separatist revolt, is India's only Muslim-majority state. More than 45,000 people have been killed since Islamic insurgency broke out in the Himalayan region in 1989.