Indian Police Kill Top Kashmir Rebel
12 July 2006
Srinagar: Police in revolt-hit Indian Kashmir said on Wednesday they had killed a commander of a militant outfit blamed for grenade attacks that killed eight tourists in the region a day earlier. 'We've shot dead a top operative of Lashkar-e-Taiba in (southern) Anantnag town ... (and) are investigating whether he had a role' in the grenade attacks, said a police official. Police have blamed the grenade attacks on Lashkar, which is based in Pakistan-administered Kashmir and is one of the main Islamic militant groups fighting to end New Delhi's rule in Indian Kashmir. Police earlier said the group may have been responsible for a wave of explosions that ripped through commuter trains in India's financial hub, Mumbai, late Tuesday killing 183 people dead. Eight tourists were killed and nearly 40 people were wounded in the five grenade attacks in Srinagar, the summer capital of Muslim-majority Indian Kashmir where a separatist insurgency has raged since 1989. Police said the militant, identified as Qari Anas from Pakistan, was killed Wednesday when they raided a rebel hideout on a tip-off from a suspected Lashkar militant arrested in Srinagar soon after the grenade attacks. Police said the arrested man confessed to hurling one of the grenades. Lashkar denied its involvement in the grenade attacks, telling reporters the arrested man did not belong to their group. The group has also denied any involvement in the Mumbai attacks. Police said another member of Lashkar was killed in Doda district, further south of Anantnag, and offered a 500,000-rupee (10,800-dollar) reward for the capture of another Lashkar militant, accusing him of masterminding recent grenade attacks in Kashmir, including those on Tuesday. The insurgency in the divided Himalayan territory, which is claimed in full by nuclear-armed India and Pakistan, has left over 44,000 people dead by official count. Separatists say the number of deaths is at least double.