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Wednesday, 2 October, 2002, 11:31 GMT 12:31 UK
Kashmir rocked by violence
A police officer tried to put out the bus fire
The bus exploded into flames, its driver said
At least 10 people have been killed in a series of attacks in Indian-administered Kashmir just a day after violence marred elections in the state.

Five Indian border guards were killed in a landmine explosion at Tral, some 40 kilometres south of the summer capital, Srinagar.

In another attack in the frontier district of Kupwara, three ruling party members were killed by suspected militants.

Meanwhile, police in Pakistani-administered Kashmir say a woman was killed and two others wounded in shelling by Indian troops across the line of control that divides the region.

Earlier, at least two civilians were killed when a bomb exploded on a bus headed for a Hindu pilgrimage site further south.

Two militant groups, the Hizbul Mujahideen and the Al Medina are believed to have carried out the attack on the border guards.

Twenty-two other passengers were injured - many badly burned - on the bus which was leaving Jammu, the winter capital of the Indian-ruled part of Kashmir.


The people nearby rushed to rescue those inside, but the bus was in flames

Bus driver Prakash Singh
Correspondents said the bus was taking pilgrims to a base camp for a walk to a Hindu shrine in Katra.

The bus driver, Prakash Singh, said: "There was an explosion in the middle of the bus and the bus caught fire immediately.

"The people nearby rushed to rescue those inside, but the bus was in flames."

Police blamed Islamic militants for the bomb, which went off at about 0650 (0050 GMT).

Gunfire

In the latest incident on Wednesday evening, the exchange of fire between the two countries was the heaviest in over a month in the disputed region.

Troops traded artillery fire near the village of Chakothi, some 60 kilometres (40 miles) southeast of Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani- administered Kashmir.

The sudden firing erupted when two members of the United Nations Military Observer Group were visiting near the Line of Control separating the region.

One village resident, Naseer Ahmad told AP news agency, parents rushed to pull their children from the village schools as firing boomed nearby.

Mr Ahmad said: "Everybody was rushing here and there when the firing started."

'Religious extremism'

As the violence continued in Indian- administered Kashmir, Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani said "religious extremism" influenced policies in Islamabad which resulted in the growth of militancy in the country.


Whosoever created the Frankenstein is bound to be affected by the monster

Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani

Addressing an anti-terrorism conference organised by his Hindu nationalist BJP party, Mr Advani said: "Whosoever created the Frankenstein is bound to be affected by the monster."

The Deputy Prime Minister, who is also in charge of India's internal security, said India planned to crackdown on militancy.

He went on to say: " We do not have to wait for any other country to declare Pakistan a terrorist state. We are already waging a war and the war is on."

Election deaths

A day earlier, another bus was attacked in Kashmir, also by suspected Islamic militants trying to scupper the elections in the region which is claimed by both India and Pakistan.

The polls went ahead with 15 people killed in violence believed to be connected to the voting.

An injured passenger is treated in hospital
Many of those injured on the bus suffered severe burns
The voter turnout was lower than the two earlier phases.

Correspondents say India hopes the four-round poll - which ends next week - will quell growing protests against its rule in the region.

Neighbouring Pakistan has denounced the vote as a poor substitute for the plebiscite it wants for the people of Kashmir to decide between Pakistani and Indian sovereignty.

The two nuclear-capable rivals still have around one million troops deployed on their border.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Satish Jacob
"The latest round of violence brought demonstrators out on the streets"
Click here fror background reports and analysis

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01 Oct 02 | South Asia
24 Sep 02 | South Asia
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