Kashmir Violence Kills 22 Including Seven Police
2 July 2004
Srinagar: At least 22 people including seven policemen and three children were killed in fresh violence in Indian Kashmir where unrest has continued despite peace moves by India and Pakistan, police said on Friday. The violence comes as top level talks between India and Pakistan over the disputed region have gained momentum. Their foreign ministers met at an Asian security conference in Indonesia on Friday and vowed to hold more talks soon. Six policemen were killed when their vehicle, which was escorting a member of parliament from the ruling Congress party, ran over a landmine south of Srinagar, the Muslim-majority region's main city. A police spokesman said the politician, Lal Singh, escaped unhurt. None of the dozen or so Muslim militant groups fighting Indian rule in its part of the Himalayan region since 1989 claimed responsibility. Two children were killed in an explosion in central Srinagar later on Friday, police said. Elsewhere 14 people including a child, eight militants and a policeman were killed in separate shootouts across the region in the 24 hours up to Friday evening. India, which rules 45 percent of Kashmir, considers the region an integral part of its territory. Muslim Pakistan, which holds a third, has sought the implementation of U.N. resolutions for a plebiscite for Kashmiris to choose between India and Pakistan. India has for years accused Pakistan of backing the rebels fighting its rule. Pakistan says it only offers political support to what it calls a legitimate struggle for freedom by the Kashmiri people. The nuclear-armed rivals vowed this week to hold sustained and serious dialogue to resolve the dispute over Kashmir which has bedevilled ties for more than half a century and sparked two wars. Indian officials say more than 40,000 people have been killed in 15 years of separatist revolt. Separatists put the toll at more than 90,000.