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Sunday, 22 September, 2002, 07:12 GMT 08:12 UK
Indian police end Kashmir siege
Indian police during the gun battle with the militants
Indian police stormed the complex early on Sunday
Indian police have retaken control of a police residential complex in Indian-administered Kashmir's main city of Srinagar, which had been seized by suspected Islamic militants.

Kashmiri Muslim protesters shout anti-election slogans
Many Kashmiri Muslims oppose the elections
One of the attackers was killed during an hour-long gun battle between the Indian paramilitary border security force, BSF, and the militants early on Sunday.

A militant group, al-Madina Regiment, has said it carried out the attack.

The latest violence comes in the run-up to the second round of state assembly elections in Indian-administered Kashmir on Tuesday.

Earlier on Saturday, suspected Islamic militants made an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate the state tourism minister, Sakina Itoo. She escaped unhurt.

The siege

The militants - said to be three in number and dressed in police uniforms - stormed the high security complex on Saturday evening.

Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah (2nd L) surrounded by commandos
Violence has overshadowed the vote
They lobbed a grenade and opened fire, killing one police official and wounding another seven.

They then managed to infiltrate the complex and took up positions in bushes behind a residential block.

The BSF surrounded the complex soon after the attack.

After the gun battle early on Sunday morning the BSF found the body of only one militant, saying the other two might have escaped.

Correspondents say the choice of the target in the attack is significant, as militants have so far refrained from attacking local police.

Violent attacks

The attack came just hours after the assassination attempt on Sakina Itoo.

Election Dates

Phase 1: 16 Sept
Phase 2: 24 Sept
Phase 3: 1 Oct
Phase 4: 8 Oct
Results due: 12 Oct
Ms Itoo was travelling by car to an election rally south of Srinagar when her convoy was hit by a landmine.

Police say one member of the security forces and a child were killed and three others injured.

Some reports say gunmen lying in wait in the area also opened fire on the vehicles. Ms Itoo was not injured.

The attack was the third in the last few days to assassinate the tourism minister.

Ms Itoo is a well-known member of the state's ruling party, the National Conference.

Members of the Hizbul Mujahideen militant group have said they carried out the attack. They say four policemen died.

In a separate attack, police said at least 10 people were wounded when suspected militants threw a grenade at a rally south of Srinagar.

And on the city's outskirts, one policemen has been killed and seven others injured in exchanges of fire with gunmen who attacked a police residential complex.

Polling to choose a new state assembly for the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir started on 16 September and is being carried out in four phases.

Boycott

Indian Kashmir is in the process of electing a new state assembly.

A second phase of polling is due on Tuesday. The first phase last week attracted a reasonable turnout.

This despite the fact militant groups opposed to Indian rule are trying to enforce an election boycott.

Since the elections were announced at the beginning of August, more than 400 people have been killed.

About half of these were militants shot by the security forces. Candidates and party workers have also died.

India has promised these elections will be free and fair.

Previous polls have been marred by allegations of vote-rigging and coercion by the security forces, as well as militant violence.

Now India wants to enhance its credibility and show it can deliver a genuine democratic process.

Final results are expected on 11 October.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
the BBC's Jill McGivering in Delhi
"Fits a pattern of a number of previous attacks"
Click here fror background reports and analysis

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See also:

21 Sep 02 | South Asia
15 Sep 02 | South Asia
20 Sep 02 | South Asia
19 Sep 02 | South Asia
14 Sep 02 | South Asia
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