Thursday, July 1, 1999 Published at 11:06 GMT 12:06 UK
World: South Asia
India says Pakistan targetting civilians
Indian artillery shells were fired through the night
Indian Home Minister L K Advani has accused Pakistan of masterminding the killing of civilians in Indian-administered Kashmir.
In the past three days, gunmen killed 12 Hindu labourers in Anantnag and 17 Muslim civilians in Surankote, both in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Mr Advani's remarks were made at the end of a two-day trip to forward areas in the Kashmir battlezone.
The BBC's Altaf Hussein in Srinagar says Mr Advani accused Pakistan of targetting civilians after India's success in containing what he called Pakistan's incursion in Kargil.
"In a way I regard these incidents as Pakistan's realisation that the Kargil operation is being wound up," he added.
Indian police have blamed both incidents on militant Kashmiri separatists. But a spokesman for the militant Hizb-ul Mujaheddin blamed the killing of Muslim civilians on Indian security forces.
Cautious campaign successful
Mr Advani said the mountain terrain and the advantage of height meant that the guerrillas controlled the pace of the operation.
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"We can free the Kargil area in days, but that would mean an enormous cost vis-a-vis manpower," he said.
On Wednesday, Mr Advani had said India would not cross the Line of Control dividing the disputed region.
Meanwhile, India continued its policy of continuous air and ground attacks to prevent the guerrillas from getting any respite.
The Indian military said this week they have recaptured two key mountain ridges - Point 4700 and Black Rock - following the retaking of the strategically important Tololing Ridge last week.
Confused diplomatic signals
Earlier, Pakistan moved to play down remarks by a former foreign secretary, Niaz Naik, on a peace initiative to end the Kashmir conflict.
Mr Naik - who met the Indian prime minister in Delhi over the weekend - had spoken of efforts for the military commanders of the two sides to meet, and to prepare a schedule to end the conflict.
But senior Pakistani officials have been quick to minimise the strength of his remarks, saying there has been no movement in attempts to end the fighting.
India says it has lost 201 soldiers with 384 wounded and 9 missing, in almost two months of fighting.
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