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Wednesday, 1 November, 2000, 10:52 GMT
Fresh probe into Sikh massacre
Photographs of the victims on display
The Sikh villagers were killed during Bill Clinton's visit
The government in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir has ordered a fresh investigation into the massacre of 36 Sikhs last March.

The mass killing of the Sikhs in the village of Chattisinghpora took place on the eve of a key visit to India by US President Bill Clinton.

It is still unclear who carried out that attack with the Indian security forces and separatist militant groups blaming each other.

The decision to open a new investigation follows a separate judicial inquiry into the killing of eight civilians by police after the massacre.

Civilians killed

The judicial report on the police action was handed over to the state government by Justice Pandian on Tuesday.

It indicted seven policemen for the killings, when police opened fire on a demonstration by residents in Brakpora, south of Srinagar.

Sequence of events
21 March: 36 Sikhs killed in Chattisinghpora village

25 March: Five 'militants' killed by security forces in Pathribal

3 April: Eight civilians killed by police in Brakpora

7 April: Bodies exhumed and identified as local residents
They were protesting against the deaths of five local people, whom the security forces alleged were militants responsible for the Sikh massacre.

The villagers said the men were local residents and demanded their bodies be exhumed.

Following widespread protests, the five bodies were finally exhumed and the victims were identified as civilians.

Their bodies were then handed over to their families.

Events 'linked'

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah says he now wants a probe into both the Sikh massacre and the killing of the five civilians at Pathribal.

Exhuming the bodies at Pathribal
The bodies were exhumed following protests
"Since all three cases are linked to each other, we are going to request Justice Pandian to conduct an inquiry into the Pathribal and Chattisinghpora incidents also," Mr Abdullah said.

"The Sikh community is having some apprehensions which we want to remove by holding the judicial inquiry," he said.

The Indian Government said at the time the killings of the Sikhs had been carried out by the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toyeba militant group.

It was the first time in the 10-year old Kashmir conflict that the Sikh community had been targeted.

Mr Abdullah also released a separate investigation into the killing of 30 civilians - most of them Hindu pilgrims - at Pahalgam, some 100 km south of Srinagar.

The report held the Central Reserve Police Force, an India paramilitary force, responsible for "excessive firing".

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See also:

31 Aug 00 | South Asia
Arrests over Kashmir Sikh massacre
25 May 00 | South Asia
Kashmiris protest 'fake killings'
07 Apr 00 | South Asia
Kashmir dead 'were villagers'
03 Apr 00 | South Asia
Inquiry into fatal Kashmir protest
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