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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 July, 2003, 14:56 GMT 15:56 UK
Army boss injured in Kashmir
Troops at the army base
Troops take position after the start of the militant attack
The commander of the Indian army in the disputed territory of Kashmir, Lieutenant General Hari Prasad, has been injured in a militant attack, the government says.

It is now known that eight soldiers, including a brigadier, died after militants attacked an army base west of the winter capital Jammu.

The attack comes the day after seven Hindu pilgrims were killed in the troubled state.

The Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, says the attacks are the work of those trying to derail peace moves between Indian and Pakistan.

The two nuclear powers have recently restored diplomatic relations after fears last year that they would go to war.

Militant 'holed-up'

Initial reports from Indian-administered Kashmir said seven soldiers died when two militants attacked the army camp at Tanda, close to the Line of Control that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan.

India says the two militants were killed after three hours of fighting that began early on Tuesday morning.

Blast victim
Monday's fatal attack on Hindu pilgrims also left 40 injured

Later reports indicate that a third militant remained holed-up in the base.

It appears that he opened fire as soldiers carried out a search of the camp and that three senior soldiers came under fire.

Lieutenant General Hari Prasad is head of the Indian army's Northern Command, which includes Kashmir.

It is not clear how serious his injuries were.

The Indian Defence Ministry late on Tuesday named the dead brigadier as Ram Govil.

Another Lieutenant General, TPS Barar was also injured in the attack.

More than a dozen soldiers were injured in the fighting.

It is the second major attack on an army camp in the area in less than a month.

Twelve soldiers were killed and 20 others wounded in a suicide attack at the brigade headquarters of the Indian army on 26 June 26 on the outskirts of Jammu city.

Tuesday's attack came as officials said they were tightening security for Hindu pilgrims in the state.

Seven pilgrims were killed in explosions at a communal kitchen in the town of Katra, west of Jammu city, where Hindus were preparing to travel to the shrine of Vaishno Devi.

The explosions were believed to have been triggered by grenades thrown by unidentified attackers.

More than 40 people were injured by the blasts.

The main destination for Hindu pilgrims at this time of year is the cave of Amarnath, east of the summer capital, Srinagar.

Thousands of security personnel have been deployed to try to prevent a repetition of an attack on Hindu pilgrims last year that left eight dead.

'Nascent peace'

Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed said the attacks on Monday and Tuesday were an attempt to sabotage the improving relations between India and Pakistan.

Pilgrims crowd on top of a bus as they wait to make their pilgrimage to Amarnath
Security had been stepped up to protect the pilgrims

"Our enemies are trying to derail this process of nascent peace," he told reporters.

"When tourists returned to Kashmir thousands of our people benefited, but these terrorists don't seem to like that. We will have to get these people," he said.

India and Pakistan have recently restored full diplomatic relations after 18 months of tension.

But there is no sign yet of any fresh effort to resolve their long-running dispute over the territory of Kashmir.

The BBC's Jonathan Beale
"Army and police have stepped up security"

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