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Saturday, 22 December, 2001, 14:12 GMT
Kashmir killings prompt security review
Grieving woman
The attackers targeted Sikh and Hindu families
By Altaf Hussain in Poshkreeri village in Kashmir

The authorities in Indian-administered Kashmir say security is being tightened for minority communities after the killing of five Sikh and Hindu women in two separate incidents late on Friday.

Map
Hours after the two attacks, it is still not clear who carried out the killings in Anantnag district.

The village of Poshkreeri, about nine kilometres from the town of Bijbehara, has a small population of Sikhs comprising just eight families.

Unidentified gunmen shot dead three Sikh girls here and wounded a couple in a raid late on Friday.

In a similar attack in another village, Hogam, gunmen shot dead two women from the minority Hindu community and wounded one other.

Police 'inaction'

Mahinder Singh from Poshkreeri, who lost two daughters and a niece, says the gunmen fired at his family through a window in his house.

Sikh
The attack has left minorities fearful
He says he called the police, only two houses away, for help but they refused.

The director general of state police, Ashok Kumar Suri, who visited the village on Saturday, promised action against the policemen if they are found guilty.

He says security is being further beefed up for the minorities across the Kashmir Valley.

Local villagers say they couldn't see the gunmen who spoke Kashmiri.

Retaliation

Mr Suri says they could be militants of Lashkar-e-Toyeba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen or the Hizbul Mujahideen who may have retaliated against India's decision to recall its high commissioner from Pakistan in the wake of the attack on the Indian Parliament.

Various separatist groups - including the Harkat-ul Mujahideen - have accused Indian security forces for carrying out the latest attacks in an effort to pre-empt a peaceful resolution to the Kashmir dispute.

Thirty-five Sikhs were massacred in Chhattisinghpora village in southern Kashmir in March 2000 on the eve of the then US president Bill Clinton's visit to India.

Whoever may be responsible for the latest killings, these are likely to cause a further exodus of minorities from the Valley of Kashmir.

More than a 100,000 Kashmiri Hindus from the Pandit community have fled their homes in the valley since the armed uprising against Indian rule began 12 years ago.

See also:

22 Dec 01 | South Asia
Musharraf condemns 'arrogant ' India
21 Dec 01 | South Asia
Pakistan freezes militants' cash
15 Dec 01 | South Asia
India steps up pressure on Pakistan
15 Dec 01 | South Asia
Suspects held over parliament raid
18 Dec 01 | South Asia
India facing tough choices
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