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Last Updated: Monday, 19 May, 2003, 16:26 GMT 17:26 UK
Eleven die in Kashmir violence
At least 11 people have died in fresh violence in Indian-administered Kashmir.

In the worst attack, suspected militants killed six members of the same Muslim family in a remote mountain village in Rajouri district.

Indian Border Security Force guard in Srinagar
Militants have been targeting soldiers' families
In separate clashes, two Indian security personnel died in Poonch district, and three Hizbul Mujahideen militants were shot dead in Anantnag district, the authorities said.

The violence comes at a time when India and Pakistan have taken steps to defuse tensions over the Kashmir dispute.

On Monday, Indian Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha said Delhi would try to resolve all outstanding issues with its nuclear rival.

"We will have to try... we will have to talk about talks first," Mr Sinha told the BBC's Asia Today programme in an exclusive interview.

"We will have to find out what exactly, in what manner, what issues and in what priority."

Earlier, his Pakistani counterpart, Khursheed Mehmood Kasuri, repeated denials that Islamabad supports militants fighting Indian rule in Kashmir - a key sticking point between the two sides.

Family killed

In the Rajouri attack, four women and two children were killed by unidentified militants in a remote village in Rajouri district, some 180 kilometres (112 miles) north of Jammu.

The dead were all family members of Mehboob Iqba, a 55-year-old shepherd, including his wife, three daughters-in-law and two children, aged two and four.

Mr Iqba was not at home at the time.

No group has said it carried out the attack, which took place in an area known for militant activity.

Three of Mr Iqba's sons, whose wives were among those killed, work for the Indian army and police.

The BBC's Binoo Joshi in Jammu says militant groups have been targeting the families of soldiers.

Peace initiative

The latest violence comes amid fresh moves to resolve the long-running Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan.

There are hardliners on both sides. There is no purpose served by quoting their statements
Khursheed Mehmood Kasuri
Pakistan Foreign Minister

Both sides have made conciliatory gestures in the past few weeks, including restoring top diplomatic ties after 18 months.

India accuses Pakistan of fomenting the insurgency in Indian-administered Kashmir, especially by helping militants cross over from Pakistani-controlled territory.

But Islamabad denies Delhi's charge, saying it only offers diplomatic and moral support to Kashmiri separatists.

"There is no question of supporting [the militants]," Pakistan Foreign Minister Khursheed Mehmood Kasuri told the BBC's Asia Today programme, in an interview broadcast on Monday.

He also played down remarks made in Pakistan two days ago by Hafiz Saeed, chief of the banned Lashkar-e-Toiba, who said the militant group did not believe in peace but in a holy war against India.

"Pakistan is a free country. Anybody can issue any statements. [But] we don't allow them to carry out any activity," Mr Kasuri said.

"There are hardliners on both sides. There is no purpose served by quoting their statements."




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