Indian Troops Kill 10 Rebels, Kashmir Official Shot Dead

June 22, 2002 - 0:0
SRINAGAR, India -- Indian security forces shot dead 10 Islamic separatist militants, while suspected rebels killed an official from Kashmir's ruling party, AFP quoted police as saying on Friday.

Personnel of the National Rifles, the Indian Army's counter-insurgency wing, gunned down three militants at Kaimoh village, near Bandipora township, 60 kilometers (38 miles) north of Indian Kashmir's summer capital Srinagar, a police spokesman said.

Police said the firefight erupted when soldiers were trying to defuse a landmine planted by militants.

"As the troops started defusing it, the militants opened fire, resulting in a retaliation by the troops," the police spokesman said.

"Three militants were killed while others fled the area." The army, backed by counter-insurgency police, shot dead two more militants in a separate encounter overnight in an adjoining village.

In Wadipora, a village near Handwara 85 kilometers (50 miles) north of Srinagar suspected militants shot dead an official of Indian Kashmir's ruling National Conference.

Ghulam Rasool, who served as a block president for the ruling party, was shot dead inside his house, police said.

He was the second National Conference official to be gunned down this week.

Later Thursday security forces shot dead three more militants in the nearby village of Hardu, police said.

In a separate incident, police said Indian troops killed two militants in the village of Tris in the northern district of Kupwara, which borders Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

The pair belonged to Kashmir's dominant militant group, Hizbul Mujahedin, and the Pakistan-based group Jaish-e-Mohammad, police said.

India accuses Jaish and another group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, of an attack on its national Parliament in December in which 14 people were killed.

The incident triggered a major military standoff between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan.

Meanwhile, a civilian lost both his legs when he stepped on a landmine in the village of Warsun in Kupwara district, police said.

More than 35,000 people have died in Kashmir since the eruption of armed rebellion against Indian rule in 1989. Separatists put the death toll twice as high.