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Monday, 13 December, 1999, 14:13 GMT
Six policemen killed in Kashmir attack

Army on patrol in Srinagar The army rather than the police are usually a target

By Altaf Hussain in Srinagar

Suspected separatists in Indian-administered Kashmir have killed six policemen and wounded seven others in a series of shooting incidents in the summer capital Srinagar.

Kashmir Conflict
All the incidents happened in quick succession in high security areas.

Militants shot at the policemen from close range at Lal Chowk, Regal Chowk, Kuker Bazar, Madina Chowk, Gawkadal, Batmaloo and on the Bund.

At Lal Chowk, they also threw a grenade at a police vehicle parked on the roadside.

A police spokesman says six policemen have been killed and another seven wounded.

An assistant sub-inspector is among those killed.

The number of dead may increase because some of the injured are critical.

Unusual target

This is the first time that a series of what appears to be planned attacks have been made on the local police.

They have, by and large, not been involved in anti-militancy operations in the Kashmir Valley.

In fact, the Indian security forces have often often accused them of sympathising with the militants.

In May 1993, some members of the police were accused of staging a mutiny when they held a week-long street demonstration against the killing of a policeman in the army's custody.

The army later stormed the police headquarters in Srinagar and disarmed the policemen.

But five years ago, some policemen volunteered to join the anti-militancy campaign.

These men joined what is known as the Special Task Force, or STF, and anyone joining the force is rewarded with a promotion.

Although many policemen have joined th STF over the past five years, most policemen disassociate themselves from anti-militancy operations.

Whether the victims of today's attacks were carried out against members of the STF is not immediately clear.

No militant group has yet admitted responsibility for the attacks.

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See also:
07 Dec 99 |  South Asia
Kashmir separatist group wants talks
17 Nov 99 |  South Asia
Kashmir 'war still on'
17 Nov 99 |  South Asia
India goes arms shopping
10 Nov 99 |  South Asia
India and Pakistan clash in Kashmir
10 Jul 99 |  South Asia
Kashmir militant alliance rules out withdrawal
27 Oct 99 |  South Asia
US urges Pakistani pullback in Kashmir

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