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Monday, 30 December, 2002, 17:43 GMT
Militants condemn Kashmir police deaths
Indian security force member frisks a Kashmiri Muslim in Srinagar
Target other Indian forces, says the Hizbul Mujahideen

A leading militant group in Indian-administered Kashmir, the Hizbul Mujahideen, has warned gunmen not to kill policemen.

At least four policemen, including one officer, have been killed in an upsurge of attacks in the disputed territory over the past week.

Such killings cause unbearable loss to Kashmiris

Saiful Islam
Hizbul Mujahideen
One of the Hizbul Mujahideen's senior chiefs, Saiful Islam, condemned the choice of target.

He said the Kashmiri police had by and large been sympathetic to the armed struggle but could turn hostile if their colleagues were indiscriminately targeted.

He asked the militants to target the Indian army, paramilitary troops and the anti-militancy Special Operations Group (SOG) of the Kashmir police instead.

He has also told the militants to inform the media about the charges against any police official killed by them so that there could be no room for confusion.

Atrocities

More than 600 police officials have been killed since an armed insurgency broke out in Kashmir more than 13 years ago.

Most of them were members of the SOG, which fights alongside the army and the paramilitary against the militants.

A large majority of police officials have refused to join the SOG, losing promotions in the process.

In 1993, the police mutinied for a week after a constable, Riyaz Ahmed, suspected of having links with militants, was allegedly killed in custody by the Indian army.

The SOG was formed a year later.

The newly-formed state government, headed by Mufti Sayeed, has promised to disband the SOG, which it says has become infamous for atrocities against ordinary citizens.

The SOG is still around, but has kept a low profile for the past two months.

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27 Dec 02 | South Asia
16 Dec 02 | South Asia
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