Chief of rebel group killed in Indian Kashmir-police

30 April 2008

Srinagar: Security forces in Indian Kashmir shot dead a senior leader of a Pakistan-based militant group late on Tuesday, dealing another blow to militants in the region, police said. This year nearly a dozen senior rebel members have been killed in gun battles in the troubled region, according to police. Police identified the dead militant as Sajad Afghani, a Pakistani national and 'chief operations commander' of the Harkat-ul Mujahideen militant group. The group is fighting against Indian troops for more than a decade in the Himalayan region. Afghani was killed in an abandoned hospital building in Sopore town, north of Srinagar, the state's summer capital, a day after the 'financial chief' of Hizbul Mujahideen, the region's main militant group was shot dead. Officials say more than 43,000 people have been killed since a revolt against New Delhi's rule broke out in 1989. Violence has fallen significantly across Kashmir since India and Pakistan, both of whom claim the region in full but rule it in parts, began peace talks in 2004. But people are still killed in daily shootouts and on Tuesday, a policemen and a suspected militant were shot dead in a town, south of Srinagar, police said.