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Wednesday, 15 May, 2002, 16:38 GMT 17:38 UK
Eyewitness: Kashmir camp attack
Women weep for family members killed in the attack near Jammu
The victims include wives and children of soldiers
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By Binoo Joshi
BBC reporter in Jammu
line

Bhagat Ram Sharma, a school teacher from Jammu's border district of Rajouri, weeps profusely while recounting how his wife died in Tuesday's militant attack.


We usually don't pick up passengers on the way

Bus conductor
"Who will look after my home and children now? I have lost my companion," he says.

Mr Sharma, 59, and his wife were travelling in the ill-fated bus that was attacked by three militants on Tuesday morning.

He is undergoing treatment for injuries he sustained to his legs at a government hospital in Jammu, Indian-administered Kashmir's winter capital.

Mr Sharma said three armed militants clad in army fatigues had boarded the bus at Vijaypur about 15 kilometres (nine miles) from the site of the attack.

They then proceeded to ask the bus driver to stop as the vehicle reached the Kaluchak army garrison.

Mr Sharma said the militants then suddenly opened fire. The driver was one of the first to die.

Mistaken identity

The conductor of the bus, who is still in a state of shock, chokes on remembering the incident.


We protect the nation - and here we see what has happened to our families

Kaluchak soldier
He said: "We usually don't pick up passengers on the way but the driver may have made an exception because the militants dressed in army fatigues looked like army soldiers."

The bus was on its way from Kangra in the neighbouring Indian state of Himachal Pradesh to Jammu.

The injured say the militants later fired at the bus from outside and also hurled grenades in an attempt to inflict the highest possible number of casualties.

'Hurling grenades'

A soldier, who took part in a four-hour gun battle with the militants after they entered a residential army area, told journalists: "We protect the nation - and here we see what has happened to our families."

He pointed to blood-soaked rooms inside the area where soldier's wives, daughters and sons lay dead.

Wrecked bus which was attacked first
Survivors say grenades were thrown into the bus
Of the 11 children who were killed many were getting ready to go to schools assisted by their mothers, who were also gunned down.

One of the mothers was still clutching her daughter's school uniform in her hands when she was hit by bullets.

She was killed instantly, but her young daughter was left wailing by her side.

The son and wife of a soldier deployed on the border were also killed in the attack.

An army soldier who was an eyewitness to the incident said the houses of army men were wired with explosives by militants.

He said: "They were not only firing but also hurling grenades."

Speechless

Kamaljit Kaur, the 34-year-old wife of a soldier who is undergoing treatment for bullet injuries, is still dazed with shock.

Giving an account of the attack, she said she saw two militants on the lawn below her house on the second floor.

She quickly bolted the front door, but "they broke it open and fired at me".

She and her three children have survived with injuries.

Another girl, Shama, 13, is being treated for bullet injuries at an army hospital.

She is so shaken by what she saw that she is unable to speak when asked to recount Tuesday's events.

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 ON THIS STORY
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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