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Wednesday, 15 May, 2002, 12:54 GMT 13:54 UK
Militants 'must end' Kashmir raids
The shattered remains of the bus used in the attack
The militants are said to have fired indiscriminately
Infiltration by Islamic militants from Pakistan into Indian-administered Kashmir must stop, a senior US official has said.

United States Assistant Secretary of State Christina Rocca, who is in the region for talks on Kashmir, warned that any spark could ignite a war between the two countries.

We're very worried about the continued mobilisation of two armed forces facing each other in close proximity

Christina Rocca,
US assistant secretary of state
She was speaking after suspected separatist militants killed more than 30 people in an attack on an army base in Indian-adminstered Kashmir on Tuesday.

Indian Defence Minister George Fernandes, visiting the scene near the winter capital, Jammu, said Delhi held Pakistan directly responsible for the attack.

"Is this not a grave human rights violation by these terrorists aided and abetted by Pakistan?" he asked reporters.

Ms Rocca made her remarks in the Indian capital, Delhi, on Wednesday before flying to Islamabad, where she has been holding talks with Pakistani officials.

Women grieves over the killings at the camp
There were children among the dead
She was swift to condemn the violence as "barbaric terrorism", and said the US-led international war on terror aimed to stop such attacks.

The US, Ms Rocca added, was not in a position to know how frequent crossings by militants from Pakistan-controlled to Indian-controlled Kashmir were.

"No matter what the levels are, it's got to stop," she told a news conference at the US embassy in Delhi.


The attack at Kaluchak was the bloodiest since nearly 40 people died in a raid on the state assembly in the summer capital, Srinagar, last October.

US Assistant Secretary of State Christina Rocca meets Pakistani Foreign Secretary Inamul Haq
Ms Rocca wants both sides to talk
Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee called it a massacre of innocents.

Pakistan has condemned the killing of civilians in the attack, many of them women and children.

A government statement called for an impartial investigation without condemning the attack itself.

The Indian Government has suggested it was timed to coincide with the arrival of the US envoy in Delhi.

"This is not a coincidence that the incident has occurred at a time when a senior US State Department official is visiting our country," Home Minister Lal Krishna Advani told parliament.

Indian officials said Ms Rocca would be shown evidence that Pakistan is backing militant activity.

Gun battle

The three attackers, who were wearing army uniforms, arrived by bus at the Kaluchak camp early on Tuesday morning.

Officials said they opened fire indiscriminately with assault rifles and threw grenades, killing seven other bus passengers before storming the camp gate.

The attackers were eventually killed during a gun battle with soldiers and police.

No organisation has admitted carrying out the attack, but Indian officials suspect Pakistan-based groups such as Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad.

A police spokesman, Subash Raina, told Reuters news agency that all three attackers were believed to be Pakistanis.

India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir since independence from Britain in 1947.

See also:

15 May 02 | South Asia
Analysis: US keeps South Asian peace
14 May 02 | South Asia
US urges calm over Kashmir attack
06 Apr 02 | South Asia
Indian police warn of Kashmir 'plot'
14 May 02 | South Asia
US balancing act over Kashmir
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