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12 Kashmiris Killed in Their Sleep

June 27, 2004|From Associated Press

JAMMU, India — Suspected Islamic rebels raided a village Saturday in the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir and shot to death 12 sleeping Muslims, police said.

The violence came on the eve of talks between India and Pakistan in New Delhi on the disputed Kashmir region, the subject of two of three wars between the nuclear-armed rivals since their independence in 1947.

A woman and a 3-year-old were among the dead in the village of Surankot, police said, but most of those killed were members of a military-trained village security force.

Eight other people were wounded, four critically, in the attack, said P.L. Gupta, a police inspector-general.

No one claimed responsibility.

A dozen rebel groups have been fighting since 1989 with Indian forces for Kashmir's independence or its merger with Pakistan. More than 65,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in the conflict.

India accuses Pakistan of collaborating with the rebels, but Pakistan denies the allegation. Both claim the territory in its entirety.

Elsewhere, about 50 men and women were trapped inside a mosque for two hours during a gunfight between security forces and suspected Islamic militants in Litter village, 40 miles south of Srinagar, the summer capital of India's Jammu and Kashmir state.

They were freed after the militants moved to an adjoining building, a police official said on condition of anonymity. The gun battle continued. Two militants and a soldier were killed in the fighting, police said.

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