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Last Updated: Monday, 1 May 2006, 16:48 GMT 17:48 UK
'Militants' kill Kashmir Hindus
An injured woman being carried to a hospital in Jammu following the attack in Doda
A woman is taken for treatment after the Doda attack
Suspected Islamic militants have killed at least 35 Hindus in two separate attacks in Indian-controlled Kashmir, police say.

Twenty-two people were shot dead after being taken from their homes in mountainous Doda district, police say.

The death toll in an earlier attack in neighbouring Udhampur district has risen to 13, officials say.

India says the attacks, the worst since it agreed a 2003 truce with Pakistan, are aimed at derailing peace efforts.

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Indian foreign minister Anand Sharma told the BBC that militant groups based in Pakistan were responsible. "It is cross border terrorism. It's not the first time we are saying it."

More than 60,000 people have been killed since an armed separatist insurgency began in Kashmir in 1989.

In Kupwara district, one person was killed and another injured in a blast at a construction site which officials blamed on militants.

'Massacre'

News of Sunday's attack in Doda district emerged only on Monday.

When we asked them what we were being made to wait for, they sprayed us with bullets
Survivor Bhushan Kumar

It came ahead of a meeting between moderate separatist Kashmiri leaders and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh planned for Wednesday in Delhi.

Mr Singh was swift to condemn the killings, saying people in the state of Jammu and Kashmir had "rejected and rebuffed terrorists repeatedly".

Police Inspector-General Sheesh Pal Vaid said the "pre-planned attack" took place in the remote village of Thawa, about 170km (100 miles) from the city of Jammu.

"The militants forced their victims from three villages into the house of the village chieftain of Kalhand and then shot them dead from close-range," he told the news agency AFP.

Villagers went to a nearby army camp to seek help, but by the time the troops had returned on Monday morning the assailants had gone, he said.

The injured were taken to hospital in Doda.

One survivor of the attack said the militants had come wearing police and army uniforms.

"They told us that security officials wanted to hold a meeting and made us wait for several hours," Bhushan Kumar told the BBC

"When we asked them what we were being made to wait for, they sprayed us with bullets."

Jammu and Kashmir chief secretary Vijay Bakaya described the killings as a "massacre" in an interview with Reuters.

Grazers killed

Later on Monday, police found the bodies of nine Hindu cattle grazers who had been abducted in nearby Udhampur district.

The bodies of four other cattle grazers had been found on Sunday.

The killings have been condemned by Kashmiri militants groups based in Pakistan who say they are not involved.

A spokesman for the Hizbul Mujahideen, the largest Kashmiri militant group, said the act of killing civilians does not serve the "liberation movement" and blamed it on Indian intelligence agents.

Indian secret services had warned of an increase in militant attacks in the lead-up to Wednesday's talks.

Both the Indian and Pakistani armies have observed a ceasefire since 2003 along the de facto border that divides the Kashmir valley, but the conflict between Indian security forces and Kashmiri militants continues.

India accuses Pakistan of failing to dismantle training camps for militants on its soil despite a peace process launched by the two countries more than two years ago.

Pakistan says India is going slow on resolving the dispute on Kashmir, which both countries claim in its entirety.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
One survivor recounts his experience of the attack



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