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Saturday, 15 June, 2002, 12:17 GMT 13:17 UK
Kashmir leader survives attack
Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah
Farooq Abdullah has stridently criticised militants
The Chief Minister of Indian-administered Kashmir, Farooq Abdullah, survived an apparent attempt on his life on Saturday.

Kashmiri girl passes Indian security personnel in Srinagar
Security arrangements remain tight

Mr Abdullah was chairing an official ceremony at a government building in the state-capital Srinagar when unidentified assailants fired two rifle-grenades at the building.

One of the grenades exploded about 200 metres from the building while the other failed to explode.

There were no injuries and no one has been arrested for the attack.

A vocal critic of the militants, Mr Abdullah has escaped unhurt from other attacks in the past.

Lowered temperatures

Mr Abdullah was presiding over the inaugural ceremony at the state School Education Board building in Srinagar's Bemina district on Saturday when the attack took place.

One of the two grenades splashed into a stream some distance from the new building and exploded there. The other hit the building but failed to explode and was later removed by Indian security personnel.

A hitherto unheard of group calling itself the al-Madina says it launched the attack, but correspondents say such claims cannot be taken at face value.

Indian soldiers man positions along the Line of Control
Shelling has continued along the LoC
This is the latest in a series of militant attacks in Indian-administered Kashmir which have triggered a massive concentration of forces by the two neighbours claiming the disputed territory.

Correspondents say it is not clear what impact Saturday's attack will have on the overall situation.

Following an attack last month in which more than 30 soldiers and civilians were killed near Jammu, Kashmir's winter capital, India appeared on the brink of launching punitive attacks against suspected militants inside Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

Visits by US envoy Richard Armitage and Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld appear to have calmed tensions somewhat although deployments remain in place and soldiers continue to trade fire with mounting casualties.

Infiltration pledge

Security arrangements have been tight across the state since a militant attack on the state's Legislative Assembly last October and it is not clear how such breaches occur.

Pakistan has assured the US, and India, that it is doing all it can to prevent militants from crossing the Line of Control (LoC) dividing Kashmir between the two neighbours from its side.

India accuses Pakistan of sponsoring "cross-border terrorism" while Pakistan admits to providing only moral and diplomatic support to people it says are "freedom fighters".

About a dozen militant groups have been waging an armed struggle against Indian rule in Kashmir since the late 1980s, and thousands of soldiers and civilians have been killed in the conflict.

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