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Thursday, 1 August, 2002, 15:56 GMT 16:56 UK
India condemns militant 'conspiracy'
Kashmiri militants
Intense diplomacy has not stemmed militant attacks
India has reiterated charges that Pakistan is not doing enough to curb Islamic militancy after a gun battle in Indian-administered Kashmir left five people dead.

It was a big conspiracy, but it was foiled

LK Advani,
Indian Deputy PM
Four suspected separatists and an army officer were killed in the all-night exchange, which took place in Rajouri, close to the Line of Control that separates Indian and Pakistani Kashmir.

Police said that the bodies of four militants were recovered from the site of the clash, which took place in a high-security zone housing senior Indian officials.

Indian Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani told parliament that the attack showed that rebels based in Pakistan were still crossing into Indian-administered Kashmir.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has vowed to stop militant incursions and has called for dialogue over Kashmir, but Delhi says Islamabad is not fulfilling its pledge.

Indian anger

Mr Advani said it was clear that "cross-border terrorism is continuing".

"It was a big conspiracy, but it was foiled," he was quoted by the Associated Press news agency as telling MPs.

Police said the encounter began on Wednesday when militants fired grenades at policemen guarding the VIP area in Rajouri, some 150 kilometres (90 miles) from Kashmir's winter capital, Jammu.

At least six houses were damaged and some 100 civilians were evacuated during the clash.

The Indian Defence Ministry also released a statement, saying the incident proved that militants were intent on disrupting elections in Kashmir due in October.

Continuing violence

In another incident later on Thursday, two policemen were killed when they were ambushed in the Raika forest in the hills around Jammu.

Islamic militant
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 Indian army camp in Kashmir
21 May 2002:
Moderate Kashmiri politician Abdul Ghani Lone shot dead
13 July 2002:
27 Hindu civilians killed by suspected militants near Jammu

The policemen were part of a team who had travelled to the area after receiving information that separatist militants were hiding in the forest.

Police said militants opened fire on them, killing the two men instantly. Security forces have cordoned off the area in an attempt to capture the militants.

The last major militant attack took place two weeks ago when suspected separatists, disguised as Hindu holy men, tossed grenades and sprayed automatic fire on a slum near Jammu.

At least 27 civilians, mostly workers and their family members, were killed.

India's Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha said the attack had been carried out "with the inspiration of Pakistan" - an allegation Islamabad swiftly and angrily rejected.

US Secretary of State Colin Powell was the latest in a string of senior Western envoys who have visited India and Pakistan with a view to reducing tensions.

The nuclear-armed neighbours have between them deployed about a million troops along the border since a militant attack on the Indian parliament last December.

Correspondents say the diplomatic efforts do not appear to have made much of an impact on the violence on the ground.

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See also:

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