Kashmir Death Toll Hits 1,980 In 2003
21 November 2003
The Washington Post
Srinagar: The government of Indian-controlled Kashmir said Friday that 1,980 people have perished in separatist fighting in the first 10 months of this year, bringing the death toll to 65,000 since the rebellion began in 1989. The 1,980 people killed was 15 percent less than in the same period a year earlier, the Jammu-Kashmir state government said. Most of the dead were Muslim civilians who were killed in militant strikes or in counterattacks by Indian security forces. India and Pakistan have fought two wars since independence from Britain in 1947 over the state of Jammu-Kashmir, now divided between them. Jammu-Kashmir is India's only Muslim-majority state. Pakistan says it supports the militants' cause, but denies India's charge that it funds, arms and trains the guerrillas. The government issued the death toll to counter accusations that civilian deaths have increased since it took power after elections last October. A two- day gunbattle that ended on Thursday left two suspected rebels, three soldiers, and a civilian dead in Srinagar, the main city in the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir.