Militants attack Kashmir village, 15 dead, police report
July 20, 1999
JAMMU, India -- A group of militants attacked a village in Indian Kashmir before dawn on Tuesday and killed 15 people with assault rifles, police said.
A senior police official said eight village defence committee members as well as two men and five women were killed in the attack at Doda district's Thattri village, about 165 km (103 miles) from Jammu, the winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir state.
The Jammu police official, who asked not to be identified, said six people were also wounded, four of them seriously, and most of the victims of the six gunmen were Hindus. Further details were not immediately available.
India has been bracing for a violent backlash by separatist insurgents in Kashmir following a two-month clash in the north of the disputed Himalayan province between Indian armed forces and hundreds of infiltrators.
The intruders completed their retreat behind the ceasefire line dividing India and Pakistan this week, but New Delhi says several hundred militants have sneaked into other parts of Jammu and Kashmir since early May.
Officials say that some 25,000 people have died in a decade of insurgency in Moslem-majority Jammu and Kashmir. India accuses its neighbour of supporting separatist rebels to foment a "proxy war," but Pakistan says it provides only moral and diplomatic support.
India denies casualty report
On Monday, India denied Pakistan's statement that 18 Indian troops had been killed as Pakistani forces repulsed two attacks on forward posts in the north of the disputed Kashmir region.
"No, this is not true. There was nothing like that," an Indian army spokesman told Reuters. "Artillery exchanges between the two armies in Siachen area is a common thing but beyond that there was nothing."
Earlier a Pakistan army spokesman had said that the Indian troops attacked the posts Sunday night in Siachen and Qamar sectors after heavy artillery shelling.
"Pakistani troops fought back, inflicting substantial losses on the enemy," the spokesman said. "Seven enemy soldiers were killed in the Siachen sector while 11 were killed in Qamar sector."
The Pakistani spokesman said it was the first major clash in the area after last week's guerrilla pullout from northern hills on the Indian side of Kashmir which ended the worst confrontation between the two nuclear-capable powers in 30 years.
The 20,000-foot-high Siachen glacier is the world's highest battlefield. Pakistani and Indian troops have been clashing there since Indians seized the area in 1984.
Reuters contributed to this report.
India declares end to conflict with Pakistani fighters
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