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Friday, October 16, 1998 Published at 15:30 GMT 16:30 UK

World: South Asia

Indian army Website ambushed

Computer hackers have hijacked the Indian army's Kashmir Website.

[ image: The army Website - as it normally looks]
The army Website - as it normally looks
Visitors to the altered Website found the homepage dominated by information on alleged torture of Kashmiris by the Indian security forces.

The sabotage happened as India and Pakistan began talks in Islamabad to ease tensions.

Kashmir, the Himalayan region claimed by both countries, is central to the discussions which broke down a year ago over the territorial dispute.

Site dedicated to 'victims of army brutality'

The Indian army launched its Kashmir pages last month to counter allegations of human rights abuses by troops in Kashmir and to give its side of the story.

It lists alleged attacks by Kashmiri insurgents and cease-fire violations by Pakistan.

But the hackers rededicated the site to "all the Kashmiri brothers who are suffering the brutal oppression of the Indian army".

[ image: Kashmir is at the centre of tensions]
Kashmir is at the centre of tensions
And they filled it with statistics on the number of Kashmiris allegedly killed, raped and tortured by Indian troops.

The Website's title page featured photographs overwritten with the words "stop the Indians" and "save Kashmir".

The pictures showing Kashmiri militants allegedly killed by Indian forces were posted on other pages under headings such as ''massacre'', ''torture'', ''extra-judicial execution'' and ''the agony of crackdown''.

Saboteurs also shut down the site's comments book "due to some ill-mannered entries by people who can't face the truth".

The Asian Age newspaper said the website was hacked by an unnamed information service in Lahore, Pakistan.

The Indian army temporarily moved to a new address but had restored the original site within hours.

A government statement said the hackers changed the site parameters so that visitors were diverted to a different server.

It said locking systems were being incorporated to prevent any repeat sabotage.

India accuses Pakistan of arming and training Kashmiri separatist guerrillas, but Pakistan says it only provides political and diplomatic support.

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