Gunfire Across Kashmir Border: Indian Officials

26 August 2008
Agence France-Presse

Srinagar: Gunfire erupted Tuesday across the de facto border dividing Kashmir between India and Pakistan, injuring four Indian border guards, officials said. The firing across the Line of Control (LOC) came a day after Indian troops shot dead four militants during a battle along the ceasefire line. In a separate attack, rebels killed an Indian soldier. 'Four of our men received minor injuries when our positions came under fire from across the LOC,' Bala Subramanyam, spokesman for the Indian Border Security Force, told AFP. 'It was not clear whether it was Pakistani troops or militants who fired at our positions,' he added. The two countries hold Kashmir in part but claim it in full. He also said three to four militants cut through a barbed-wire border fence early Tuesday, around the time of the firing, and snuck into the state's Jammu district. 'They were provided covering fire by their colleagues from across the international border,' the spokesman said, adding that authorities had launched a manhunt for the armed militants. India accuses Pakistan of arming and funding militants, and also providing them covering fire as they try to cross the heavily militarised LOC. Islamabad denies the accusations. In New Delhi, defence minister A. K. Antony said India was concerned about the latest incidents. 'The border firing and attempts of infiltration are a matter of concern,' Antony told reporters, according to the Press Trust of India. The long-running insurgency against Indian rule in Kashmir has left more than 43,000 people dead by official count. The violence has decreased since the two countries launched a peace process in 2004, but tensions have recently flared in the region over a deal to transfer land to a Hindu shrine.