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10 More Killed by Sikhs in Punjab

February 21, 1988|Associated Press

AMRITSAR, India — Sikh gunmen killed 10 people Saturday in Punjab state and roadblocks were set up throughout the region after a wave of violence that left at least 32 people dead, Indian police said.

At least 60 people have been wounded in the two days of shooting and bombing attacks, which police blamed on Sikh separatist extremists.

"We are after the killers, the entire police force is on red alert," Amritsar district police superintendent Mohammed Izhar Alam said.

Roadblocks were set up Saturday throughout the farming state bordering Pakistan, and Punjab's 35,000-member police force is being aided by paramilitary troops in the search operations.

Sikh militants have been fighting for a separate homeland in Punjab since 1982. Sikhs are a majority in Punjab, but make up only 2% of India's 780 million people, more than 80% of whom are Hindus.

The radicals want an independent homeland because they say the Hindus discriminate against them.

At least 250 people have been killed in Sikh-related violence this year. Last year more than 1,000 deaths were blamed on the separatists.

Among Saturday's victims were two Hindu farm laborers, a Hindu trader and four Sikh farmers. The remaining three have yet to be identified, police chief Alam said.

One person wounded in a bomb blast Friday died of injuries Saturday, hospital sources said.

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