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Sunday, 14 July, 2002, 15:24 GMT 16:24 UK
Pakistan 'linked' to Kashmir carnage
Mourning relatives of people killed in the attack in Qasim Nagar
Many women and children were among the victims
India has blamed Pakistan for an attack by gunmen in Kashmir who killed at least 27 Hindu civilians in a shanty town near Jammu.

Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha said: "It is clear that all this is being carried out with the inspiration of Pakistan. It was a gruesome attack."

Yesterday's massacre is terrorism in its most naked form

Deputy PM
LK Advani
Pakistan's Foreign Ministry has condemned the incident, saying it seemed to be aimed at increasing tension in the region.

It was the worst such attack since Islamic militants raided a military base near Jammu on 14 May, killing 34 people - an incident which brought India to the brink of war with Pakistan.

Eyewitnesses said up to eight militants disguised as Hindu holy men had entered the Qasim Nagar slum area late on Saturday, first throwing grenades and then opening fire.

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Some of the victims were reportedly shot while listening to a commentary on the England-India cricket match.

Troops have launched a massive hunt for the suspected pro-Pakistan militants and the Indian security cabinet was meeting to discuss the attack.

Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani condemned the attack on a visit to Qasim Nagar on Sunday.

"Yesterday's massacre is terrorism in its most naked form and the objective of the terrorists was amply clear because they killed people and killed without any discrimination," he said.


About 30 people were also wounded in Saturday's attack - 10 of them critically.

Terrorism - be it in Jammu, Kashmir or anywhere else - only serves to renew the determination of the free world to fight this evil

Jack Straw
UK foreign secretary

Stunned families are gathering around cremation pyres for the victims in Qasim Nagar. Some of the corpses are pathetically small, the BBC's Jill McGivering reports.

Officials in Indian-administered Kashmir said they suspected two Pakistan-based militant groups - the Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad.

UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said he was "horrified by this attack on innocent civilians".

He is due in India in a few days' time as part of the continuing diplomatic effort to ease tensions between India and Pakistan.

Kashmir militant attacks:

1 October 2001:
38 killed in attack on the Kashmir assembly in Srinagar
13 December 2001:
14 killed in attack on the Indian parliament building in Delhi
14 May 2002:
More than 30 killed in attack on an Indian army camp in Kashmir
21 May 2002:
Moderate Kashmiri politician Abdul Ghani Lone shot dead

Kashmir's main separatist alliance said the attack was "an act of cowardice".

Javed Mir, acting chairman of the pro-independence Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), said it was "a clear act of terrorism" and "we condemn terrorism in all its forms". The JKLF is an important member of the separatist alliance, the All Party Hurriyat Conference.

Eyewitnesses said that after throwing grenades and opening fire on a crowd the gunmen entered two small temples and continued shooting before fleeing into nearby forests.

"Our lot is very bad. Five of my family members were killed," said one man who survived the attack.

Tension in Kashmir is expected to be further heightened when tens of thousands of Hindu pilgrims trek to a cave shrine called Amarnath on 22 July.

Braced for war

Militant groups are fighting to end Indian rule in Kashmir, and Delhi says they are actively supported by Pakistan.

Pakistan has pledged to curb the infiltration of militants from its territory, but India says it is still not doing enough.

Our correspondent says the loss of human life is bad enough, but the attack also jeopardises the whole international effort to keep India and Pakistan from war.

On Friday, the United States said there had been a significant decline in infiltration by Pakistani-backed militants into Indian-administered Kashmir.

Although both India and Pakistan have stepped back from the brink, they still have more than one million troops massed along their common border.

The BBC's Jill McGivering
"India's patience is again being dangerously tested"
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