RealNews

Soldiers Kill 15 Guerrillas In Kashmir

In a fierce gun battle Sunday night, Indian soldiers killed 15 Muslim guerrillas as they sought to cross into Indian-held Kashmir, officials said today. The clash was the latest in a series of violent incidents that have cast a pall on recent peace overtures between India and Pakistan, which both claim the rugged Himalayan territory. Security officials said the fighters were trying to cross into the Kashmir Valley when they were spotted by Indian soldiers guarding a heavily forested area along the Line of Control, the cease-fire line that separates Indian and Pakistani forces in Kashmir. The death toll could not be independently verified. Such incursions have been a common feature of the 13-year Muslim insurgency against Indian rule in Kashmir, but they had tailed off over the summer after the Indian prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, offered during a speech in Kashmir last spring to “extend the hand of friendship” to Pakistan. Over the past five weeks, violence in the valley has escalated, and a chill has once again descended on relations between the two countries. Their differences came to a head earlier this month at the opening of the U.N. General Assembly session in New York, where Vajpayee and Pakistan’s president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, accused each other of dealing in bad faith. Full Story

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