Kashmir Standoff Ends After Troops Kill 2 Militants
30 July 2005
Srinagar: Indian troops stormed a building in Kashmir's main city of Srinagar on Saturday, killing two militants who had held them off for more than 24 hours with automatic rifles and grenades. 'We killed two militants and the operation is over,' Indian Border Security Force spokesman Virender Manhas told Reuters. Security officials said after killing one militant, who was holed up in a hotel, troops shot dead another guerrilla hiding in a nearby shopping complex. Two soldiers were wounded during the assault. About 40 people, trapped since Friday in a nearby newspaper office and a hotel, were brought out safely by soldiers. The militants had positioned themselves in two buildings in central Srinagar after they raided the main business centre on Friday afternoon, sparking a fierce battle with troops. In the initial gunbattle on Friday, 20 people, including seven journalists, were wounded. One TV cameraman was critically wounded after being shot in the stomach. Earlier on Saturday, police and soldiers rescued at least 20 civilians, including some children, who had been stranded in a bank in the area as shots were exchanged between the guerrillas and troops, a police officer said. Two Islamic groups fighting New Delhi's authority over Kashmir, Al- Mansuriyan and Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen, claimed responsibility for the raid on the city's business centre. New Delhi has said that despite a peace process with nuclear rival Pakistan, Islamabad allows Muslim militants to infiltrate into Indian Kashmir. On Friday, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf tried to ease Indian concerns over reports that militant camps were re-opening on his country's side of the line, saying the situation was 'on the mend'. More than 45,000 people have died in the revolt in mainly Hindu India's only Muslim- majority state of Jammu and Kashmir.