Indian Troops Kill 15 Muslim Rebels In Kashmir
18 September 2004
Srinagar: Indian soldiers shot and killed 15 Muslim rebels in separate gunbattles across Kashmir on Saturday, police and border security officials said. They said this was the highest number of rebels killed in a single day in the past few months as troops stepped up their offensive against armed separatists fighting New Delhi's rule over the disputed Himalayan region. 'It's been a bloody day,' said an Indian Border Security Force officer who did not want to be named. Five militants were killed in forests near the Pakistani border south of Srinagar, Indian Kashmir's main city. Another 10 guerrillas were shot dead in different gunbattles across the region, police said. Two villagers were also killed in southern Kashmir when suspected insurgents barged into their house and opened fire. Violence continues in Kashmir despite a sluggish peace process between India and Pakistan. The South Asian nuclear rivals have fought two wars over the scenic territory since they gained independence from Britain in 1947. The dispute continues to be the major obstacle in peace talks between New Delhi and Islamabad. New Delhi has long accused Islamabad of fomenting violence in Kashmir where more than 40,000 people have been killed since the rebellion against India's rule started in 1989. Talks last week between the two country's foreign ministers made no headway in resolving differences over Kashmir, mainly Hindu India's only Muslim-majority state. India holds 45 percent of the territory, Pakistan a third and China the rest.