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Last Updated: Saturday, 30 August, 2003, 16:40 GMT 17:40 UK
Kashmir militant chief reported killed
Indian soldiers search the debris of a destroyed house, Srinagar, 30 August 2003
The rebels were said to be hiding inside the house
The leader of a Kashmir separatist group - Jaish-e-Mohammad - has been killed by Indian security forces, officials in Indian-administered Kashmir have said.

The man, Ghazi Baba, was one of the conspirators behind the attack on the Indian parliament in Delhi in 2001, said Vijay Raman, the inspector-general of the Indian border guard (the BSF).

Mr Raman said another militant and one soldier were also killed, and at least six others wounded during a nearly 10-hour gunbattle which followed a raid by Indian forces on a house in Srinagar.

The death has not been independently verified.

The killing of Ghazi Baba is "a major setback to rebel activities in the region", Mr Raman told reporters.

"Killing of foot soldiers doesn't have much impact. We need to go after the generals," he said.

But a local news agency quoted by the Associated Press said it had received a telephone call from a man saying that Ghazi Baba was not among the dead militants.

Saturday's violence is the latest in a series of clashes coinciding with a visit to the region by the Indian Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee.

On Thursday, four people were killed during a siege in Srinagar. It ended when paramilitary police stormed a hotel after a 12-hour gun-battle with suspected militants.

In the 2001 Indian parliament attack, nine people were shot dead, when five armed gunmen entered the grounds of the building.

The attackers were killed before they could enter the building itself, where ministers and about 300 MPs were sitting.

Delhi accused Islamabad of helping Pakistan-based militants to carry out the attack - something Islamabad denied.

The subsequent fallout between the two nuclear rivals led to fears of a new conflict in the region.

But, in recent months relations between the neighbouring countries had begun to thaw with the resumption of diplomatic ties and transport links.





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