Remote - Controlled Bomb Kills 11 In Kashmir
5 December 2004
Srinagar: A remote-controlled roadside bomb blew up an army patrol car in a pre-dawn attack Sunday in disputed Kashmir, killing an Indian army major and 10 other soldiers, police said. A man who said he spoke on behalf of the Hezb-ul Mujahedeen militant group claimed responsibility in a call to a local news agency, the Central News Service. The group is the largest of the militant organizations fighting Indian security forces since 1989 to carve out a separate homeland or merge Kashmir with India's neighbor Pakistan. The powerful blast in Wachi village hurled the car skyward and left a 10- foot wide crater in the road, police officer Imtiyaz Ahmed told The Associated Press by telephone from the site of the blast, about 40 miles south of Srinagar, the summer capital of India's Jammu-Kashmir state. 'The car is completely damaged, totally twisted. It was hurled several meters (yards) from the crater,' Ahmed said. 'The bodies of the victims are in pieces. It is a very awful sight.' The car, a private sports utility vehicle being used by the army, was on night patrol when the explosion occurred, Ahmed said. The occupants included the major, eight army soldiers, a police officer and the driver, he said. Separately, Farooq Abdullah, Jammu-Kashmir state's top opposition leader and the state's former chief minister, escaped an apparent bid on his life when suspected rebels fired a rifle grenade during a lakeside memorial service in Srinagar, the state's summer capital, police said. In the nearby Anantnag district, three militants holed up in a mosque were killed Sunday after an overnight gunbattle with troopers who had surrounded the building, defense spokesman Lt. Col. R.K. Sen said. The rebels entered the mosque late Saturday night after soldiers raided the village. However the mosque was not damaged in the fighting that raged overnight, Sen said. The 14-year insurgency in India's only Muslim-majority state has claimed more than 66,000 lives. Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan but each claims the region in its entirety. They have fought two wars over Kashmir since their independence from British rule in 1947.