India Warns Pakistan Over Kashmir
21 July 2005
Washington DC: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has warned that rising violence in Kashmir could jeopardise peace talks with Pakistan. He was speaking in Washington hours after a bomb attack in Srinagar in Indian-administered Kashmir that killed three soldiers and a civilian. The militant group, Hizbul Mujahideen, said it carried out the attack. Delhi says Pakistani troops are not stopping militants from infiltrating into areas controlled by India. Indian security forces say they have been engaged in a number of confrontations with militants in recent weeks. Mr Singh told reporters in Washington on Wednesday that the development was 'disturbing'. 'I as the prime minister of a democracy cannot move ahead of Indian public opinion if acts of terrorism are not under control,' he said. 'That certainly affects my ability to push forward the process of normalising our relations with Pakistan.' Mr Singh made a similar warning about the impact of public opinion on the peace process after gunmen attacked the disputed religious site at Ayodhya earlier this month. Local police blamed the Lashkar-e-Toiba militant group for the attack. Conflicting accounts Wednesday's bomb in Srinagar went off near a school injuring 19 people as well as leaving four dead. Wreckage from Wednesday's blast in Srinagar The BBC's Altaf Hussain in Srinagar says the explosion was caused by a car bomb in a high security area where most of the state's ministers and bureaucrats live. Army spokesman, Lt Col VK Batra, said the car was being driven by a suicide bomber. But a man claiming to be a spokesman of Hizbul Mujahideen said the bomb was detonated by remote control. About 40,000 people have been killed in fighting between Indian security forces and militants in the region since 1989. Violence has escalated in Indian-administered Kashmir after a period of relative calm following peace moves between India and Pakistan. The peace moves are aimed at ending decades of dispute over Kashmir - a region both countries claim in its entirety. India accuses Pakistan of sponsoring a violent uprising in Kashmir, a charge Islamabad denies. India says that over a dozen militant groups, mostly based in Pakistan, have been fighting security forces in Jammu and Kashmir state since 1989 to carve out a separate homeland or merge the Himalayan region into Pakistan. But Pakistan says it has only given diplomatic support to militant groups in the past and has now taken steps to ensure they no longer have bases in the country. On Tuesday, India's new army commander in the state, Lt Gen SS Dhillon, said Pakistani troops were aware of the infiltration of militants across the Line of Control that divides Kashmir. 'What active support they are giving to the infiltration, how much and to what extent they are helping are difficult for me to say. But I am quite certain that they know that the infiltration is taking place,' he said.