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Monday, 23 July, 2001, 12:48 GMT 13:48 UK
Strike after massacre of Hindus
Burning barricade in Jammu
Hindu groups called for protests after the killings
A general strike is underway in the Jammu region of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir to protest at the killing of 15 Hindu villagers by suspected Islamic militants on Sunday.

Markets and businesses in the old city of Jammu are closed and public transport has been kept off the roads after the strike was called by hard-line Hindu groups.

Hindu holy man in front of a military truck
Indian security forces were protecting pilgrims
Heavy security has been imposed in the Doda district where the killings took place, and the authorities have imposed a curfew in the town where those killed are to be cremated.

In further violence on Monday, five soldiers and four civilians were seriously wounded in a landmine explosion in Srinagar, capital of Indian-administered Kashmir.

Growing violence

The massacre on Sunday came a day after at least 13 people were killed when militants attacked Hindu pilgrims in Kashmir.

Talks broke down because Pakistan was stressing the point that there should be no reference to cross border terrorism

Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee
The pilgrimage - which sees up to 100,000 Hindus trekking to the Amarnath shrine 14,000 feet (4,270m) up in the Himalayan mountains - was immediately suspended, but has since been allowed to resume.

Details of Sunday's attack in Doda are still sketchy as the area can only be reached after a 15-hour trek through the mountains.

According to the French news agency AFP, the victims were dragged out of their homes and shot dead at point blank range on Sunday.

A team of senior police officials has gone to Doda to investigate the attack.

July has seen an upsurge in violence in Kashmir with almost 200 people killed since the Agra summit between the leaders of Pakistan and India a week ago.

Talks breakdown

On Sunday, Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee blamed Pakistan for the breakdown of the Agra summit.

In his first public comments since the collapse of the Agra summit, Mr Vajpayee said the Pakistani leader, General Pervez Musharraf, refused to allow a joint statement to refer to alleged Pakistani support for Kashmiri militants.

"On some points there was agreement, but talks broke down because Pakistan was stressing the point that there should be no reference to cross border terrorism," he said.

India accuses Pakistan of sponsoring the Islamic militants in Kashmir, but Pakistan says it provides only moral support to the guerrillas.

Indian-administered Kashmir's Chief Minister, Farooq Abdullah, has reacted to the increased violence by calling on India to stop all negotiations with Pakistan.

"Militants enjoying Pakistani support have gone berserk...India should not pursue the peace process with Pakistan if this kind of killings continue," he said.

But Mr Vajpayee agreed at the Agra summit to make a return visit to Pakistan for another round of talks with Mr Musharraf.

On Sunday, the Indian Prime Minister confirmed that he would still be going to Pakistan but did not give a date.

See also:

20 Jul 01 | South Asia
Musharraf: Kashmir must be solved
17 Jul 01 | South Asia
Militants to step up Kashmir attacks
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