Eight People Die As Senior Separatist Seeks Kashmir Conference
26 August 2005
Srinagar: Eight people were killed and 13 injured in the latest wave of violence in Jammu and Kashmir on Friday as a senior separatist announced plans for a conference of leaders from both sides of the divided state. An army official claimed that Indian troops had killed four members of Kashmir's most powerful Islamic militant group, Hizbul Mujahideen, while suspected rebels killed a public servant and his son. 'The militants were killed in two separate clashes late on Thursday in the Anantnag and Pulwama districts,' army spokesman Vijay Batra said. Both districts are in the south of Kashmiri capital Srinagar and are considered strongholds of Hizbul. Also on Thursday, suspected militants shot dead a government official and his son in the southern district of Rajouri, police said. Police blamed militants for two more shootings in which a village head and a Kashmiri working in the Indian army were killed in Baramulla in the north and Budgam in the southwest respectively. Meanwhile, a series of five grenade blasts on Friday left 13 people wounded in Sopore, 50 kilometres north of the Srinagar, including four border guards and a five-year-old girl, police said. None of the dozen rebel groups active in Kashmir claimed responsibility for the killings. Meanwhile, senior separatist Yasin Malik on Friday said that the Kashmir dispute was heading towards a solution and announced plans for a conference of Kashmiri leaders from both sides of the border. 'This conference will give Kashmiris an opportunity to speak their minds,' Malik told a rally in the northern town of Bandipora, 60 kilometers north of Srinagar.