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Saturday, 6 April, 2002, 17:05 GMT 18:05 UK
Indian police warn of Kashmir 'plot'
Islamic militants in training
Indian authorities say the situation is under control
The authorities in Indian-administered Kashmir have accused Pakistan of having at least 3,000 Islamic militants ready to infiltrate the territory.

Map of Kashmir

The state's Inspector-General of Police K Rajindra Kumar said Pakistan intended to send the militants across the so-called Line of Control once the snows have melted.

He also said they had been issued with Pakistani army uniforms while they waited at the Line of Control so they would not be easily spotted.

Both India and Pakistan have massed troops along their mutual border as well as the Line of Control since the attack on the parliament in Delhi by militants in December.

But Islamabad denies Indian charges that it materially backs the militants, although it openly provides moral and diplomatic support to the separatist campaign.

Accusations

Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf pledged to wipe out Islamic extremism in January, banning two key groups active in Kashmir.

Indian troops
There has been a massive build-up of troops on both sides

But Mr Kumar, who heads Indian police forces in the Muslim-majority Kashmir Valley, described Pakistani action as "cosmetic".

He said offices of the militant groups closed down in Pakistan have simply been relocated to Muzzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-ruled Kashmir.

He said that foreign militant groups had been advised to merge with the local outfits so that the armed campaign looks like an indigenous movement.

The police chief added that militants had started targeting political activists ahead of the assembly elections due to be held in October.

Mr Kumar pointed out that four activists of the ruling National Conference party had been killed this month, but said the security situation was by and large under control, despite these incidents.

The main separatist alliance opposing Indian rule in the territory has vowed to boycott the polls.

Further deaths

Meanwhile, the authorities said two security personnel and eight militants were among 12 people killed in separate incidents across the Kashmir Valley.

Police said one militant belonging to the Hizbul Mujahideen group and an Indian soldier were killed in a gun battle at Wagub village near Sopore town in north Kashmir on Friday night.

A civilian was also killed in the incident.

Police also said seven militants were killed in clashes on Friday in Baramulah, Kupwara, Doda and Poonch districts.

Authorities said unknown gunmen shot dead a10-year-old boy in Srigunfwara in Anantnag district on Friday, addding they also suspected militants of killing a policeman in Beerwa town.

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